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Michigan State News              Updated 08/27/15


(Highway Shootings Task Force)
A special task force has been formed after reports of at least six incidents of vehicles struck by bullets on I-94 and I-69 in Calhoun County dating back to last month.
Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxon believes the shootings were intentional, but it is hard to determine if the shootings were from another vehicle or from the side of the road.
Lab tests show damage to several vehicles traveling on I-94 and I-69 in Calhoun County the past few weeks was caused by a firearm.
No one has been hurt, and most of the time they have happened during the day.
The incidents have occurred during daytime and nighttime hours on I-94 between 11-mile road and I-69, and on I-69 between M-60 and Jonesville road in Branc.

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(MI Sues Florida Firm)
Michigan has filed a civil lawsuit to prevent Florida-based Division of Corporate Services from operating in Michigan because of alleged deceitful business practices. Attorney General Bill Schuette says the practices are designed to dupe Michigan companies and non-profits into sending the company 150-dollars with a completed form to stay in good standing with the state. The mailings are apparently made to look like official state forms. The move by Schuette follows a complaint by a Charlevoix non-profit, The Walloon 17 foundation.

A six-state effort is underway to curb illegal drug use in the Midwest.
United States Attorney Barbara McQuade was joined by law enforcement officials in Detroit on Wednesday in response to an alarming spike in prescription pill abuse and a resurgence of herion addiction.
McQuade says there has been a disappointing trend, and a co-called "pipeline" of illegal drugs from Michigan into Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia since 2010.
The closed-door meeting was organized to devise more effective local and regional approaches to the problem.
Federal prosecutors say heroin overdose deaths in the U-S tripled from 2010 to 2013, and the number of deaths from all drug overdoses exceeded 43-thousand last year.
In the Midwest, opiod deaths have increased 62-percent since the beginning of this year, more than 60 people have died of heroin and fentanyl overdoses in Wayne and Washtenaw counties alone.
The number of heroin overdose deaths in Oakland County doubled from 2013 to 2014.
The victims range in age from young teens to adults.

(Capitol-Net Metering Concession)
A concession from Michiganís two largest utilities as a Senate committee considers energy reforms.
Consumers Energy and DTE Energy want to eliminate the stateís net metering program that allows solar panel users to swap their excess power for credits from their utility.
But Irene Dimitry of DTE says they are open to grandfathering in current participants to keep it fair for those who have made the investment in solar.
Consumers Energy also says it supports grandfathering current net metering.
Under proposed reforms, solar users would sell all the power they generate at wholesale prices to their utility, which would then resell it at retail rates.

(Ann Arbor-U of M Public Policy Survey)
A public policy survey of local leaders across Michigan shows less than half feel the state is headed in the right direction.
Tom Ivacko (EYE-vock-OH), program coordinator at the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan, which conducted the survey says - surprisingly - Republicans led the way.
He says their support fell the most compared to last year.
As a whole, Governor Rick Snyderís approval rating held steady from last year but the legislatureís approval rating dipped.
38 percent of those surveyed say lawmakers are doing a poor job.
Recent tax policy decisions and the ongoing road funding debate are cited as reasons respondents donít think Michigan is headed in the right direction.
72 percent of the local leaders surveyed responded.
The survey has a margin of error of 1.4 percent.

(UP-Teacher Shortage)
Two vacant teaching jobs Ė one month goes by Ė and not a single person applies.
Thatís the reality facing Upper Peninsula school superintendents and itís only going to get worse.
Lou Steigerwald (STIGER-wald), superintendent of Norway-Vulcan Area Schools, surveyed other U.P. superintendents and found most expect to lose 25 percent of their teachers in the next five years and donít think theyíll be able to fill the vacancies.
One reason, he says schools can no longer rely on college students wanting to teach.
Thatís because many wonít make enough to pay down their student loans.
Established teachers with families have had trouble making the move north too because their spouses havenít been able to find work in the tight U.P. job market.
Steigerwald says he and other superintendents expect to have the toughest time filling vacancies in math, science, special education, career tech education and the fine arts.

(Lansing-Peters Iran Deal)
A small group of people gathered in front of U-S Senator Gary Peters downtown Lansing office today (Wednesday) in hopes of convincing him to back the Iran nuclear deal.
Heís one of a handful of Democratic U-S Senators on the fence.
Rabi Michael Zimmerman says the deal is essential for world peace and would create a safer climate in the Middle East.
The group also dropped off signed petitions hoping it would be enough to sway Peters to support the deal.
Peters has been hesitant to back the deal noting how complex it is.
He also fears Iran would pick up where it left off 10 or 15 years down the road.

(Capitol-Fantasy Sports Bill)
As an estimated one million Michigan citizens begin drafting their fantasy football teams, a state senator is pushing legislation to ensure the game stays legal in the state.
While fantasy sports betting is not illegal in Michigan, Senator Curtis Hertel (hur-TELL) says it falls in a gray area of law.
Betting on unregulated games of chance is against the law in Michigan.
Hertel (hur-TELL) says his bill would define fantasy sports as a game of skill, making sure it remains legal.
Hertel (hur-TELL) says about 57 million people in the U-S play fantasy sports, himself included.
He says the industry generates about $3 to $5 billion every year.



(Study-Unused Auto High Tech)
Despite billions of dollars being spent by automakers to add advanced technology in their new vehicles, a new J-D Power and Associates study shows much of that technology going unused.
The study surveyed 42-hundred new vehicle owners and lessees. It found that just one of five owners has never used half of the 33 technology features in their new vehicles,
Those include safety devices to seamless connectivity of smartphones and iPods to semi-autonomous driving with sensors and controllers in driver-assist technologies that steer, brake and accelerate to
avoid a collision if the driver fails to act. Other services going unused include mobile routers, automatic parking systems, head-up displays and built-in apps.
The owners say, in many cases, they failed to find the features useful, and opted instead to use their smartphone or tablet since it was more familiar to them and more accurate.
The study found millennials are the most resistant, with one in five accepting 23 new high tech features in their vehicle, most related to entertainment and connectivity systems.

(MI ACT Scores are Average)
High school graduates in Michigan this year had an American College Test score of 20.1. That's considered average when compared to other states like Michigan, where students are expected to take the exam, although it's nearly a point below the average composite nationwide. Michigan is one of only 13 states where students are expected to take the ACT. The newly released results are for English, math, reading and science. The top score for ACT is 36. Twenty-two percent of Michigan students this year achieved college-ready scores of at least an 18 in English, a 22 in math and 23 in science. Nationwide, 28 percent of the students were considered college-ready. Next year, the state switches to the SAT.

(MI Crash Costs)
Repairs to highways in Metro Detroit as a result of three tanker crashes are costing the state of Michigan a lot of money. The Michigan Department of Transportation is estimating the total costs of the work to be over one-million dollars. The full price tag for repairs done last week on Interstate 75 following a tanker explosion has not yet been calculated. Other crashes were on I-75 at I-375 in May and on I-94 near U.S. 12 in March.
(24/7 News Source)

(Wayne Co-West Nile)
Mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus in Wayne County.
The virus was found during routine testing in a pool of mosquitoes found in Redford Township.
While there have been no confirmed cases this year of the virus in humans, residents are urged to limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes
are most active, cover up when outdoors and use insect repellent that contains DEET.
West Nile was also found earlier this month in neighboring Oakland County.

(Ford Ranger Return)
The Ford Ranger could be making a comeback, and the renewed production of the compact pickup could be headed to Michigan.
The automaker won't comment on a report in "The Detroit News" that the Ranger could return to production at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne later this decade.
The report stems from promises by Ford not to close the Wayne, Michigan facility and build "unidentified products" there. That followed an annoucement to move production of the Focus compact
and electric cars, C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid from that plant, which currently employs 45-hundred workers, to Mexico in 2018.
Ford ended production of the Ranger because of low-volume sales, opting for changes in the F-150 full-size pickup, but a resurgence in the small pickup segment could change that.
The renewed interest is also fueled by General Motors' decision to enter the market again with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Toyota also is launching the next generation of its Tacoma,
which has dominated the segment since Ford pulled out. The Nissan Frontier also competes in the segment.

(Capitol-MDE Scorecard)
A color-filled scorecard ranking your childís school would be a thing of the past under a bill soon-to-be introduced in the Michigan House.
State Representative Lisa Posthumus (POSS-too-MISS) Lyons says she will push a bill again to change the color-coded scorecard to a letter grading system.
She introduced similar legislation last session.
Lyons says the color-coded scorecards are confusing and thinks the familiar A through F grades would be more straightforward.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education says theyíre already looking at making that change.
If that happens the color-coded scorecard would be phased out in 2017.

(MI-Vaccine Waiver Website)
A Michigan doctor wants to eliminate the stateís child vaccination waivers for religious and philosophical reasons and sheís making it easier for others to join in her effort.
Grand Rapids-area doctor, Michelle Davis, launched the website Mivaccinations-dot-org that gives people a simple way to email state lawmakers saying they donít like Michiganís immunization opt-out.
Davis says itís important to tell legislators and parents that allowing waivers is dangerous and puts the public at risk for some preventable diseases.
She says she launched the website after learning some schools only have a 90 percent vaccination rate.
Michigan is among the few states that allow parents to opt-out of vaccines for children attending schools or daycares.

(Capitol-Heroin Possession)
A bill could be introduced soon requiring anyone found guilty of possessing heroin to serve at least three years behind bars.
State Representative Scott Dianda (die-ANN-dah), an Upper Peninsula Democrat, is working on the measure.
He says a ton of heroin is making its way in to the U.P. from Wisconsin and he wants to put a stop to it.
Dianda (die-ANN-dah) hopes harsher penalties will discourage people from selling or buying heroin in Michigan.
The drug is finding its niche as a cheap substitute for prescription pain killers.
He expects to introduce the bill this fall.

(Capitol-Renewable Jobs)
A state senator who sits on a panel considering changes to Michiganís energy policies says job creation should be part of the discussion.
Energy reforms being looked at would eliminate the stateís renewable standard and dump net metering, the program that credits solar panel users for putting their excess power back into the power grid.
So far, consumer impact has been the focus of talks, but Senator David Knezek (kuh-NEE-zik) says there is another aspect to consider. He says renewables, like solar production, has potential for creating quality jobs and that should be at the forefront of discussions.
Knezek (kuh-NEE-zik) says these are high paying, clean jobs that will continue to grow Michiganís economy.
A Senate committee is still taking testimony on the reforms.

(Investors Warn About Panic)
Amid an up and down market, financial advisors are urging investors not to hit the panic button.
That probably didn't stop some from selling earlier this week, when at one point the Dow had dropped a thousand points.
But Lansing-based gold market analyst Pat Heller says an adjustment is underway because lingering low interest rates have caused things to straighten out.
He concedes, in the short term, it's going to be painful for investors.
But most experts say in the long run, invested money will come back around.
(Help from: Rich Herl, WILS, Lansing)

(Mackinac Island- GOP Presidential Candidates)
There are now six Republican presidential hopefuls scheduled to speak at a Republican conference on Mackinac Island next month.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the latest to confirm for the 31st Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.
Already scheduled are former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The conference is set for the weekend of September 18.



(Capitol-Immunization Law)
A Clio (KLY-oh) Democrat wants to make a new immunization rule a new law in Michigan.
State Representative Pam Faris plans on introducing a bill this fall to solidify the change, which was approved in December.
The new rule requires parents go to their county public health department to sign a waiver if they donít want their kids vaccinated.
It also requires them to sit through an educational session with a nurse.
Faris believes the education component is key as some parents may not be as informed as they should be on what vaccines do and donít do.

(MI Gas Prices Dropping)
Average gas prices in Michigan are dropping and they'll continue to decline by up to 50 cents per gallon over the next two weeks. Gasbuddy.com's Patrick DeHaan is basing his prediction on news that BP's Whiting, Indiana refinery has safely been restarted. Problems at the refinery were blamed for Michigan's recent gas price increase. He says as gas stations start buying cheaper gas, they'll pass it along to motorists. He reminds car owners however that the stations will attempt to recoup margin losses that came from the wholesale price spike two weeks ago.

(Six GOP Presidential Candidates set for Island)
There are now six Republican presidential hopefuls scheduled to speak at a Republican conference on Mackinac Island next month.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the latest to confirm for the 31st Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. Already scheduled are former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The conference is set for the weekend of September 18.

With 15 months to go until the election, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has some work to do to convince Michigan voters she is the choice for President in 2016. More than half the people in a new poll conducted by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV have an unfavorable view of Clinton.
The poll shows Clinton losing by five-percent to Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and in a statistical dead heat with businessman Donald Trump.
The results are a significant change from a June poll where Clinton was leading Bush by three-percent. The poll also found while Donald Trump's unfavorable rating was the same as Clinton's, his support is not fading as many continue to predict.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

(Americans Tire of Recalls)
A new study says customer satisfaction with cars has fallen 3.7% to 79, on a 100 point scale. The study is from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Car owners report a 40 percent increase in recalls, compared to the second quarter of last year. And that is damaging driver satisfaction, according to ACSI Chairman and founder Claes Fornell. Rising prices have also contributed to dissatisfaction, according to the ACSI. Forty-three hundred persons were questioned in the survey.

(Study Cites Healthiest Housing Markets)
Flint ranks last on a list of the 300 largest cities in the US when it comes to healthy housing markets. Wallethub.com reports Ann Arbor is the highest ranking Michigan city, at number 68. The analysis was based on data such as median home-price appreciation and home price as a percentage of income to job growth. Also on the list is Sterling Heights (125), Livonia (136), Grand Rapids (158), Lansing (210), Warren (tied at 223), Detroit (293), and Dearborn (231).

(Scandal-Investigation Complete)
An investigation into an affair between two state lawmakers finds both are guilty of misconduct and both misused taxpayer resources.
State Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser have acknowledged the affair since published reports outed the two over two weeks ago.
Neither is resigning.
Tim Bowlin conducted the investigation for the Michigan House and says the findings will be made public after a legal review is completed.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter, in a statement, says the preliminary report shows what he calls troubling evidence of misconduct.
The House Business Offices investigation took two weeks to complete. Thereís no word on how long it will take to wrap up the legal review.
The House, last week, voted to create a special committee tasked with determining if Courser and Gamrat are fit to keep their jobs.

(Scandal-Investigation Response)
Embattled State Representative Cindy Gamrat says she wonít decide her political future until she reads the report issued by the Michigan House.
It wonít be released for a few days.
The House Business Office wrapped up its two week long investigation Monday, filing a preliminary report finding both Gamrat and fellow State Representative Todd Courser guilty of misconduct and misusing taxpayer resources.
The two admit to having an affair.
Gamrat says sheíll talk with her family before making any decision and notes that no option is off the table.
Courser, meanwhile, has stayed mum about the report on Facebook and Twitter.

(Allegon Co-Gamrat Constituent Help)
The state Senator whose southwestern district overlaps embattled state Representative Cindy Gamratís is helping out those who live there and are not finding assistance at Gamrat's office.
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (SHOOT-maker) says sheís talked with some constituents whoíve not found help at Gamratís office so they turned to Schuitmaker (SHOOT-maker).
Schuitmaker (SHOOT-maker) is among a number of lawmakers who have called on Gamrat and Representative Todd Courser to resign amid the scandal involving the two House members attempting to cover up an extramarital affair.
Schuitmaker (SHOOT-maker) issued a statement saying as long as Courser and Gamrat stay in office they will be distractions from the real issues facing Michigan.

(MI-National Weather Service - Beach Hazard)
Today (Tuesday) is not a day to swim in Lake Michigan.
The National Weather Service says gusting winds of up to 25 miles per hour are creating six foot waves in some spots, resulting in dangerous swimming conditions all along the coast. The NWS says it would be a life threatening situation for anyone entering the water.
A beach hazard warning will remain in effect till tonight. The warning also says dangerous currents are expected on beaches from St. Joseph to Manistee.

(Capitol-No Reason Absentee Update)
One state lawmaker spent her summer vacation trying to round up support for a bill to allow people to vote absentee without giving a reason.
State Representative Lisa Posthumus (POSS-too-MISS) Lyons is sponsoring the bill, which awaits a vote in a House committee she chairs.
Lyons didnít call the bill for a vote in June saying she wanted to take the summer to talk with election officials and other lawmakers to iron out any wrinkles with the legislation.
The bill would require people to apply for an absentee ballot in person and show an ID, which Lyons says should ensure there wonít be voter fraud.
Lyons is also working with her counterpart in the Senate whoís said he wonít hold a hearing on the bill even if it passes the House.
Senator David Robertson fears the measure will dilute the importance of Election Day.
He says if people really want to vote than they should go to the polls.

(MI-Retailer Projections)
Retailers in Michigan say their sales forecasts through October slipped a bit, following a strong July.
The latest Michigan Retail Index shows while the new three-month forecast dropped to its lowest of the year, it remained comparatively high.
Michigan Retailers Association President James Hallan says increased sales in July were across a wide spectrum of trade lines, including gifts, apparel and personal services.
Looking forward, 56 percent of retailers expect August to October to increase, 16 percent expect a decrease and 28 percent expect no change.



Michigan motorists are finding some relief at the gas pump this week after recent spikes in prices due to refinery issues, based on a new survey from Triple-A Michigan.
The Auto Club survey found the statewide average weekly gas price has decreased about 16-cents from the previous week, to $2.84 per gallon. That's also 66-cents less than this same time last year.
Meantime, metro Detroitís average weekly gas price has decreased about 19-cents from the previous week, to $2.84 per gallon. That's 62 cents less than this same time last year.
Among the cities surveyed by Triple-A for self-serve unleaded fuel, the lowest average price can be found in the Saginaw/Bay City/Midland area, where itís $2.76 per gallon. The highest average price is in
the Marquette area, where itís about $2.91 a gallon.

(NWS: Beach Hazard)
Today (Monday) is not a day to swim in Lake Michigan. The National Weather Service says gusting winds of more than 35 miles per hour are creating eight foot waves in some spots, resulting in dangerous swimming conditions all along the coast which can pose a life threatening situation to anyone entering the water. A beach hazard warning will remain in effect at least through tonight. The warning also says rip currents are expected on beaches from St. Joseph to Manistee.

(Coast Guard Suspends Search)
The Coast Guard has ended the search for a sailor who jumped overboard from a Great Lakes freighter early Sunday. The 989-foot vessel, owned by the Interlake Steamship Company, was about three to four miles offshore of Big Sable Point when the sailor climbed over the rail and jumped. Crew members threw him life rings, but the water was too rough to stop the ship and deploy a work boat. The first call came in at 1:15 a.m. A number of vessels searched a 76 nautical mile area all day, and found nothing. The missing man's name is not being released, according to the Coast Guard.
(Help from: WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Best Worst Retirement Cities)
Detroit ranks near the bottom on the list of the best and worst cities to retire. Wallethub.com's analysis puts Detroit at 141 out of the 150 largest cities in the US. Grand Rapids did better, coming in tied for 54th. The analysis is based on two dozen metrics, including cost of living, public hospital rankings and the percentage of population aged 65 and older. Number one overall was Tampa, Florida. Coming in last was Newark, New Jersey.

(Comerica Park Concrete Falls)
Officials with the Detroit Tigers are looking into what caused a piece of concrete to fall just after Sunday's game with the Texas Rangers.
No one was hurt, but team vice-president of communications, Ron Colangelo, says stadium operations reported the concrete fell at the 100-level concourse after fans had left. Colangelo says they've isolated the area.
The stadium opened in 2000. The Tigers' next scheduled game at Comerica Park is Tuesday night.

The results of an internal investigation into an affair between two state lawmakers could be released as soon as today.
WOOD-TV, citing unnamed sources, reports the House Business Office has completed its investigation into whether or not State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat used taxpayer dollars or resources to cover up their affair.
However a spokesperson for the House Republicans, reached by email late Sunday night, wouldnít confirm the report.
Gideon DíAssandro (DUH-sahn-DRO) tells the Michigan Radio Network the House will announce the findings when the investigation is complete.
He wouldnít elaborate on if the investigation is in fact done.
The House, last week, formed a special committee to determine if the two lawmakers are fit to keep their jobs.

(Capitol-Left Lane)
Drivers couldnít use the left lane on the interstate for anything more than passing other cars under a bill introduced in the Michigan House.
State Representative Robert Kosowski (KUH-zow-SKI) is sponsoring the bill at the behest of one of his constituents.
He says he only uses the left lane to pass other cars and never just drives down the left lane.
Kosowski, who drives to Lansing from Metro Detroit, says he sees people all the time driving in the left lane when there are no other cars in the right lane.
Those people, under his legislation, would get a ticket.
The bill awaits a hearing in a House committee.

(Capitol-Adoption Law Reversal)
Democrats in the Michigan House have introduced legislation that would modify what they call adoption discrimination laws.
The laws in question allow faith-based agencies to refuse placements with people like same-sex couples or unmarried couples if it goes against the agencies religious beliefs.
The governor signed the bill in to law over the summer.
State Representative Sam Singh of East Lansing calls the law unconstitutional.
He doesnít think an adoption agency that receives state funding should be allowed to turn away any prospective parents.
One of the proposed changes in the Democratís legislation would remove funding for those agencies.

(Tax Credit)
A bill to extend a tax credit for small businesses that provide differential pay to military reservists and National Guard members called to serve on active duty would is moving through the U.S. Senate.
U-S Senator Gary Peters co-introduced the bill and says it will help both small businesses and activated service members.
For an employee who earns $3,000 per month, but is paid $2,000 per month while on active duty, the provision would provide a $200 credit for the small business to pay the difference of $1,000.
Peters says oftentimes a service members civilian pay is higher than their military pay so that extra $1,000 makes a difference.
A vote on the entire bill is expected in the fall.

(MI-MI DNR Helps Illinois)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources sent an 11-member team to Illinois to learn more about managing the invasive Asian Carp.
Michigan DNR helped the Illinois DNR remove bighead and silver carp from the Illinois River. Tammy Newcomb (NEW-cuhm) of the Michigan DNR says this is the second year they sent DNR members to Illinois to see how to manage Asian carp.
She says seeing how Illinois deals with the invasive fish will help Michigan DNR field technicians learn how to react if bighead or silver carp make it into Michiganís waterways.
The team helped with efforts in the Illinois River, about 15 miles downstream from the Chicago Waterway, where regional efforts have been made to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.



((MI Firefighter Killed)
One of the three firefighters killed this week by a wildfire in Washington state was a West Michigan native. Thirty-one-year-old Rick Wheeler was from South Haven and had moved with his wife to Wenatchee, Washington about a year ago to work for the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter. Pastor Joanne Coleman Campbell of the First United Methodist Church in that town spoke to the "Wenatchee World" on behalf of Wheeler's widow, Celeste, saying Wheeler always wanted to be on the front lines of a fire, and said "if he had to die, I'm sure he would have wanted it to happen while fighting a fire to save others." A memorial is being planned by family in South Haven.
(24/7 News Source)

(Tanker Driver-Dies)
Authorities say the 53-year-old truck driver who was severely burned when his vehicle crashed and burst into flames on I-75 near Detroit early Thursday morning has died. The unidentified driver was traveling southbound on I-75 when he lost control of the truck, carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline. The truck then struck the median and flipped over, bursting into flames. The driver was an employee of the Corrigan Oil Compan, and was said to have suffered burns to over 90-percent of his body.

(Gamrat Urged to Resign)
State Representative Cindy Gamrat is being urged by the Allegan County Republican Party to resign immediately from office. The party's executive committee voted 14-to-four, with two abstaining, to call for her resignation over an affair with fellow state Representative Todd Courser and the efforts by Courser to cover it up. Gamrat told her county's party leaders Thursday night that while her husband
has forgiven her for the affair, they are continuing to work on their marriage.

(Capitol-Ethics Committee)
The Michigan legislature would have a bipartisan committee handle lawmaker misconduct under a bill introduced in the Michigan House.
State Representative Andy Schor (SHORE) is behind the measure and says the committee would be made up of a Democrat and Republican from each chamber.
The four member panel would only be able to investigate potential wrongdoing, not dole out punishment.
He says the current sex scandal involving two lawmakers prompted him to introduce the bill, although heís been thinking about doing so for a year.
The House Business Office, which is under the direction of the House speaker, is handing the investigation into State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
Schor believes the office is doing a good job but believes having a bipartisan group handle future investigations is a better way to go.
The measure awaits a hearing in a House committee.

(Capitol-Cyber Revenge)
A state Senator wants to make cyber revenge, also known as revenge porn, a crime in Michigan.
Cyber revenge is when a former intimate partner of someone posts sexually explicit photos of that person without consent.
Senator Steve Bieda (BEE-duh) says cyber revenge is a growing problem, so heís working on legislation to provide victims some protections.
Bieda (BEE-duh) introduced similar legislation last year that created penalties for revenge porn, but it didnít make it through the state House.
He says this bill will also include fines for violators.

(Grand Haven Rescue)
Two teenage girls from Grand Haven are back on dry land after being caught in rip currents in Lake Michigan Thursday. A 13-year-old is hospitalized in serious condition and was unconscious by the time surfer Zebulon Boeskool (bah-SKOOL) was able to get her to shore. Boeskool says his instincts took over when he went out to rescue the girl, who had gone limp but somehow managed to cling to his arm. He carried her until he got into water that was about waist-deep, when others came out and took the girl the rest of the way in because Boeskool had become exhausted from the rescue. A 14-year-old girl was rescued by a man on the pier with a life ring, and told authorities it felt like she had been pulled out into the water.
(24/7 News Source)

(MI Health Endowment)
Organizations have until the end of the day today (Friday) to apply for Michigan Health Endowment Fund grants.
The program was part of a deal from the reform of Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield a few years ago.
A total of $8 million is available for community foundation application, according to Executive Director Paul Hillegonds.
Money has gone to support programs dealing with health exams for at-risk youth, fitness for children and seniors and fall risk reduction in older adults.
The goal is to improve the health of Michigan residents and lower the cost of health care.
Hillegonds is encouraging interested local nonprofit organizations to go to mhealthfund.com for more information.

(Detroit-Rubio Visit)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio came to Michigan Thursday to talk about reforming the nationís tax code.
The Florida senator told the Detroit Economic club itís time to stop clinging to an outdated tax code and embrace the new American economy.
Rubio says, if elected, his plan would cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent and allow businesses to expense all money spent on the company.
He also wants to increase the child tax credit to $2,500 from $1,000 and dump a tax penalty for couples that file jointly.
Rubio will make campaign stops in Ohio Friday and Saturday.

The top Democrat in Michigan says GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio chose an odd spot Ė Detroit Ė to talk about his plan for the economy.
Brandon Dillon says thatís because Rubio said, in April, the auto industry bailout was the wrong thing to do.
Dillon says without the auto rescue Michigan would still be in an economic depression.
Dillon calls Rubioís ideas old and tired.
Rubio spoke before the Detroit Economic Club Thursday.

(Capitol-Seed to Sale)
A bill to force medical marijuana growers, processors, transporters and dispensaries to be licensed by the state -- and for transfers from point A to point B to be taxed -- awaits a vote in a Michigan House committee.
State Representative Klint Kesto is sponsoring the legislation and says the stateís medical marijuana industry should have a framework and regulations.
But State Representative Jeff Irwin fears adding more red tape will backfire, fueling a black market.
Kesto counters the bill will create more legal access to medical marijuana.
The legislation would also create a tracking system to keep tabs on medical marijuana from the time it leaves a grower til itís sold at a dispensary.

(UP-State Fair Poultry Show)
A poultry quarantine in Michigan isnít keeping some exhibitors from putting on a show at the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba.
Poultry and Rabbit Superintendent Andrea Sorensen says four exhibitors put on poultry showmanship demonstrations Thursday - using stuffed chickens.
The quarantine was put in place on May 1st after cases of Avian Flu were reported across the Midwest.
It remains in effect til the end of the year.
The UP state fair runs through Sunday.





August 28, 2015

World Assembly for Women event is held today. International political leaders, business leaders, and opinion leaders discuss issues including the economic benefits achievable by promoting the active roles of women, diversity in working styles, the development of society, and common issues relating to women throughout the world.

August 29, 2015

Itís been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall ripping through the Gulf coast states of Mississippi and Louisiana, flooding the city bowl of New Orleans and killing over 1,500 people. The slow federal response to the incident led to heavy criticism of the George W. Bush administration.

August 30, 2015

The 32nd annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) are broadcast live on the network
Burning Man 2015, the 29th annual alternative living event traditionally centered around the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy gets underway.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of start of NATO bombing campaign against Serb artillery positions in Bosnia, heralding the start of Operation Deliberate Force - NATO's first air campaign.

August 31, 2015

135th US Open tennis championships begin today. Croatian Marin Cilic claimed his maiden grand slam title at this event last year, while home player Serena Williams won her sixth US Open crown to move joint-second on the all-time winners list' with Chris Evert
The 5th anniversary of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq ending at midnight on the evening of August 31,  2010, over seven years after Operation Iraqi Freedom began with the March 2003 invasion to remove Saddam Hussein.
Janet Jackson begins the North American leg of her world tour today . The tour marks the singer's first show in four years, while the singer is expected to release her first studio album in seven years at some point this year
Preliminary results of annual survey of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at end of year are published today.

September 1, 2015

Six continents, 24 hoursí worth of music -- Live Earth will take place to raise awareness of climate change.  There will be shows in Paris and New York with further events in Brazil, South Africa, China and Australia.  The first Live Earth took place 7 Jul 2007, with concerts in 11 locations worldwide, including Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
The American Legion National Convention.  It will include the presentation of the American Legion Patriot Award to country musicians The Oak Ridge Boys
Final nominees for the 49th Annual Country Music Association Awards (CMA Awards) announce.
Extradition hearing in New Zealand as early as today for Kim Dotcom, founder of online file-sharing service Megaupload, who is wanted by authorities in the U.S. He was granted bail in February 2012 following his arrest the month before, after the website was shut down, with U.S. prosecutors saying that it was involved in internet piracy and money laundering.
The start of National Preparedness Month - nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses, and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies, led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency 'Ready' Campaign, in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council. Presidential Proclamation calls on Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and to observe the month by working together to enhance national security, resilience, and readiness
NBA President of League Operations Joel Litvin steps down, after nine years in the role and 27 with the league. He will continue to serve as a consultant to the NBA

September 2, 2015

Discover US Consumer Spending Monitor , daily poll tracking economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers throughout the month , is released today.
1st anniversary of video depicting beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group (formerly known as ISIL) appearing online.
70th anniversary of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing surrender of Japan on USS Missouri at the end of WWII, marked by a memorial service on USS Missouri docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

September 3, 2015

20th anniversary of eBay which was founded by French-born Iranian-American entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar after a Labor Day weekend spent writing the code for a new site called Auction Web.
NCAA college football season begins.
'Soumission (Submission)' by Michel Houellebecq published in the U.S. this fall following its Jan 7th publication in his native France amid accusations of Islamophobia. The novel, which imagines a near future in which the country elects a Muslim president, was released in France on the same day three gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

September 4, 2015

Seven months after first word of Deflate-gate the outcome is still up in the air. Judge Richard Berman said his current plan is to rule by September 4 but again urged a settlement, noting "there are enough strengths and weaknesses on both sides."  Berman hit the NFL repeatedly with questions of fairness. He wondered whether investigators were specific enough in their conclusions. He asked why the union was denied access to certain documents and witnesses.   At issue, Tom Bradyís suspension.
Unemployment Rate, Average Workweek, Average Hourly Earnings, Manufacturing Payrolls, Nonfarm payrolls for August released today.
'The Reality of FASHION The Reality of AIDS', 3rd annual runway fashion event featuring stars of reality TV, aimed at increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS and raising funds to end the epidemic.


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