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Michigan State News              Updated 03/02/15


(MI-Great Lakes Ice)
Ice coverage continues to grow over the Great Lakes and now stands at 88-point-three percent as of Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids says the coverage is ahead of last year by about seven-percent and the peak is expected in the next few weeks.
The all-time record for ice coverage on the lakes was 95% set in 1979.
Lake Huron and Lake Erie at about 96 percent ice coverage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lake Superior is close behind those two with 95 percent coverage, followed by Lake Michigan with 73 percent and Lake Ontario with 70 percent.
Forecasters say the above-normal amount of ice on the Great Lakes will mean another cooler-than-normal summer throughout Michigan and the entire Great Lakes area.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids/24/7 News Source)

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(Gaylord-Treetops Damage)
The damage estimate for what was done by the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at Treetops Resort in Gaylord is now up to 430-thousand dollars.
The general manager at the northern Michigan resort increased the estimate over the weekend based on their out-of-pocket expenses to contractors and others.
The fraternity was given the death penalty by the University of Michigan on Friday for the destruction from a ski trip in mid-January. According to the Detroit Free Press, Sigma Alpha Mu has paid 25-thousand dollars so far, but a representative for the fraternity has told Treetops that the organization is (quote) "unwilling to accept liability and pay restitution."
(24/7 News Source)

(Van Buren Co-Palisades Rating Downgraded)
The safety rating of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Van Buren County has been knocked down a notch following a recent Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation into some incidents that occurred during its refueling outage last year.
The NRC's Viktoria Mitlyng says the action is due to the amount of radiation to which Palisades workers were exposed during the outage wasn't properly measured and calculated.
However, the NRC adds the doses received by the workers were below the annual radiation limit and aren't expected to have any impact on their health.
Mitlyng says that Palisades will be subject to another NRC inspection following the violation. Palisades representatives say procedures at the plant have been revised in light of the NRC's intervention.
The facility and its parent company, Entergy, have 30 days to contest the NRC finding.
(Help from: WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)

(MI-Wolf Decision Appeal)
Just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service returned wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin to the federal endangered species list and wolves in Minnesota to federal threatened species status, the Department of Natural Resources announced it had appealed the ruling.
The appeal of the U.S. District Court ruling in December is the next step in an ongoing battle over the legal status of the wolves, which have been delisted several times in recent years, only to be returned to the list by courts.
Wildlife groups have challenged the delisting because it has generally been followed with hunting seasons, including the first ever in Michigan in 2013.
DNR Director Keith Creagh said the state is better suited to managing the animals given that they have met federal recovery goals.
In addition to preventing a hunting season in the state, the federal court ruling prevented the state from implementing its new wolf management law that allows land owners to kill problem wolves if they are attacking pets or livestock. Under the federal Endangered Species Act, only federal officials have authority to address problem wolves.
Michigan's wolf population numbers approximately 636 in the Upper Peninsula.

(Roxland Twp-Police Shooting)
Michigan State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting Saturday that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old.
According to state police a country sheriff's sergeant stopped the vehicle of 17-year-old Deven Guilford of Mulliken at about 8:30 p.m. in Roxland Township, west of Grand Ledge. A struggled ensued between the officer and Guilford and Guilford was shot. He died at the scene.
The officer, whose name was not released, was also injured. He was transported to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for treatment. His condition or status was not made available.
This is the second officer involved shooting in Eaton County in the past two weeks. On February 17, sheriff's deputies where responding to a report of a vehicle in a ditch when a confrontation began with 32-year-old Matthew Lundy of Charlotte. Deputies shot and killed Lundy who had an unidentified weapon.

(Capitol-Film Credit)
The Michigan House Tax Policy Committee could vote this week on a measure to end Michigan's film tax credit program.
The bill is sponsored by House Republican Dan Lauwers of Brockway in St. Clair County.
If approved, the incentives will end September 30th.
While legislators this year have reduced the size of the film credit program because of budget constraints, Governor Rick Snyder did propose a 50 (m) million dollar placeholder in next year's budget for film credits. That effectively means he's putting the issue up for discussion.
Lauwers has said that while he supports film making in Michigan he (quote) "doesn't want to have to buy it."
Teamsters were in Lansing last week pushing for continuation of the credits, saying they've created jobs.
But Charles Owens of the National Federation of Independent Business disagrees, saying "those jobs never pan out, the money invested by taxpayers is wasted," when compared with spending the money on roads.
Last year there were 27 film projects that were supported with 64 (m) million dollars in taxpayer supported film credits. The projects had expected to generate more than two thousand hires.

(AAA-Gas Report)
Gas prices increased from last week, AAA Michigan reports.
Michigan’s current statewide average is about $2.42 per gallon, about 11 cents more than last week’s average and about $1.27 less than this same time last year. This is the fifth week in a row that the statewide average weekly gas price has increased.
The current Metro Detroit average is about $2.38 per gallon, about 9 cents more than last week and about $1.27 less than this same time last year. This is the fifth week in a row that Metro Detroit’s average weekly gas price has increased.
Of the cities surveyed by AAA , the cheapest price for self-serve unleaded fuel can be found in the Metro Detroit area, where it’s about $2.38 a gallon. The highest average gas price can be found in the Traverse City area where it’s about $2.49 a gallon.

(MI-Snow Days-Online)
Instead of snow days canceling learning for the day, a leader in online learning in Michigan is suggesting that snow days should be 'online learning' days.
Jamey Fitzpatrick of Michigan Virtual University notes that there was an average of nine and one-half snow days per district in Michigan last year. And he believes young people should be learning on those snow days.
While there's no active move in the legislature currently to encourage or require "e-learning days," Fitzpatrick says it would not be difficult to do.
Some teachers in Michigan do it right now, but it's not being done on a widespread basis as a matter of public policy, according to Fitzpatrick.
Michigan Virtual University is a non-profit which provides online educational tools, resources and courses for middle and high school students, parents and K-12 educators.

(Capitol-Choose Life-Plate)
A legislative committee in Lansing could vote this week on a measure requiring the state to develop a "choose life" license plate in Michigan.
The measure is promoted by anti-abortion groups such as Michigan Right to Life.
Under the proposal, revenue generated from the plate sales would go to organizations which have projects promoting alternatives to abortion, such as Michigan Right to Life.
Michigan Right to Life's Ed Rivet says Michigan is the only state along the I-75 corridor which does not have a "choose life" plate.
Start up of a new plate costs Michigan about 15-thousand dollars, according to the Michigan Department of State.
The bill is before the Senate Transportation Committee.

(Detroit-Hall Shooting)
Gunfire claims the life of a party-goer at a Detroit hall.
Detroit police have confirmed that a 44-year-old man is dead and another five people have been shot at the Chalmers Community Hall near East Outer Drive early Sunday morning.
The shootings happened just after 4 a.m. according to police after a confrontation turned deadly during a party.
A spokesperson for DPD says he thinks there may be two people in custody in connection with the shootings.
Three men and two women are being treated for their injuries as police continue to investigate.
If you have any information about this incident you are asked to call Detroit police.
(WWJ, Detroit)

(MI-Hackers Target Michigan)
The Michigan State Police say that while hackers are attacking Michigan's computer systems on a daily basis, they're winning the battles.
Matt Bolger of the State Police says they have five offices and 20 officers working on tracking the "cookies" that hackers leave behind.
Officials recently told lawmakers that each day, the state stops well over 700-thousand attacks on its I-T network. The attacks range from simple spam, to malicious efforts to slow or even shut the network down.
Currently the state spends 22 (m) million dollars on cyber security. In his 2016 budget, Governor Snyder is proposing a seven (m) million dollar increase.

(Keweenaw Co-Princess Point Grant)
A precious natural resource will continue to be enjoyed by the public thanks in part to a grant from the Portage Health Foundation.
The Keweenaw Land Trust had acquired Princess Point near Jacobsville which includes 360 feet of waterfront on the Keweenaw Waterway.
The Foundation awarded the trust more than $13,000 to help prepare the site and make it safe and usable for the public.
Executive Director of the Keweenaw Land Trust Evan McDonald says the grant helps establish the Princess Point Nature Area which will be accessible for kayakers and canoeists as part of the Keweenaw Water Trail.
Princess Point has beautiful views of undeveloped lands nearby and is a popular spot for fishing, hunting and for water sports.
The land was donated by several members of the Uitti family with a desire to see the land be put to use for the general public.
(WCCY/WOLV, Houghton)

(MI/DC-Invasive Species Caucus)
Upper Peninsula Congressman Dan Benishek will co-chair a committee to look into the problem of invasive species around the country.
The Congressional Invasive Species Caucus will instruct members of Congress about the economic and environmental damage of invasive species, and come up with solutions to the environmental challenges that result from their spread.
Benishek says as someone familiar with fishing in Northern Michigan, he has seen the damage done by invasive species, especially invasive phragmites and zebra mussels. The Iron County Republican says they are working to try and prevent the spread of Asian Carp.
The Caucus plans to begin holding meetings and developing their legislative agenda in the coming months.
(WCCY/WOLV, Houghton)

(MI-Historical Markers)
The Michigan Historical Commission has approved four new markers and applications for two coming markers.
A marker at the Detroit Yacht Club commemorates the first Port Huron to Mackinac race. Spring Wells, near Fort Wayne, will have a marker commemorating the last peace treaty signed with Native American tribes in Michigan.
The Michelson Memorial United Methodist Church in Crawford County and the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Leer will also receive markers.
The Buchanan North and West Neighborhoods Historic District and the Croswell House in Adrian both have approved marker applications, meaning the historical research has been approved, but the text for the marker has to be drafted.

(MI-Pure Michigan Awards)
The Pure Michigan brand is being recognized with a pair of awards from Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.
The tourism campaign promoting the state won a gold medal for the six-page "Hemingway's Pure Michigan" feature that was published in the Triple-A "Midwest Traveler" magazine in the May/June issue last year.
A silver medal was given to Pure Michigan for four segments done in collaboration with the Weather Channel featuring the Tulip Time Festival in Holland that aired last May.
(24/7 News Source)

(MI-Home Visiting Program Grant)
Michigan’s program offering home visits to help vulnerable and at-risk mothers will get a boost from a $3.5 million federal grant to the Department of Community Health.
The program works to promote maternal, infant and early childhood health, development, and safety; school readiness; and strong parent-child relationships to improve health outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the grant will run through September 2017.
Early Childhood Home Visiting programs provide voluntary, prevention-focused services in the homes of pregnant women and families with children ages 0-5 by connecting trained professionals with vulnerable and at-risk mothers and families to nurture, support, coach, educate and offer encouragement with the goal that all children grow and develop in a safe and stimulating environment.
Statewide, more than 600 professionals serve an estimated 25,000 each year.

(MI-Road Vote Preview)
The head of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network is looking at a failed road millage this week in Muskegon County as a preview of the statewide vote in May to fund road repairs.
Rich Robinson says the more than two-to-one margin of defeat for the Muskegon County millage shows Governor Snyder will have to work very hard to sell the sales tax hike to the public.
Muskegon County Road Commission Managing Director Ken Hulka says when they decided to ask voters for the millage, the state Legislature had not yet acted to put a one-percent sales tax increase on the ballot. He says he knew their request would fail as soon as the statewide ballot proposal was announced.
(24/7 News Source)

(Portage-Winter Blast 5K)
About 800 runners braved the cold Sunday morning to participate in the third annual Portage Winter Blast Half Marathon and 5K.
The event, which started and ended at Portage Central High School, began with 5K runners taking off at 8 a.m. and the half-marathoners leaving the starting line at 8:10.
Kalamazoo Area Runners President Bonnie Sexton told MLive the race began as a way to celebrate Portage's 50th anniversary and has continued as a key fundraiser for the Kalamazoo Area Runners.
Bryan Reynolds, of Kalamazoo, took first place in the half marathon with a time of 1:17:44. Scott Evans, of Kalamazoo, won the 5K, with a time of 17 minutes and 38 seconds.



(MI-Upton-Net Neutrality)
Southwest Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is expressing doubts about the FCC's decision this week to reclassify broadband internet as a Title II public utility.
Following the move on Thursday, Upton, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement warning that it will lead to a flood of lawsuits, noting that the FCC's action "does not end the debate."
The St. Joseph Republican said that Congress remains willing to come to the table on the issue of net neutrality to create a plan that helps protect both consumer and business internet access without the need for FCC oversight.
Supporters of the FCC's action to implement net neutrality say that it will ensure internet service providers don't slow down the traffic of heavily used sites in order to demand payment from those sites. Opponents say that the FCC is overstepping its authority.
(WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)

(Montmorency Co-Deputies Assaulted)
A 28-year old man is behind bars in northeast lower Michigan for attacking police.
Montmorency County Sheriff deputies responded to a report of a domestic dispute in the village of Hillman just before midnight and then sought a 24-year old Grand Blanc man identified as a suspect involved who apparently left the scene on a snowmobile.
The man was found later at a residence in Hillman Township. As deputies attempted to speak with the suspect, the 28-year old resident of the house came out with an aluminum baseball bat in his hands and allegedly assaulted the deputies.
After a struggle, the man was placed under arrest. He is lodged in the county jail on charges of assault and battery of police officers and resisting and obstructing police.
The case remains under investigation and will be referred to the prosecutors office.
(WATZ, Alpena)
(Saginaw Co-Drug Smuggling)
Two people have been arraigned on charges of smuggling drugs into the Saginaw County Jail.
Brett Stout, who was an inmate in the jail, received postcards from his wife Christina Stout, which investigators said contained the prescription narcotic Suboxone. The drug used to treat opiate and narcotic addiction had been placed on a thin film underneath the postage stamps.
Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said a corrections officer was suspicious about the way the stamps were placed, leading to the discovery. The drug was identified by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab.
Brett Stout had been released from jail during the investigation. The couple was arrested at their Cass City home with the help of the Huron County Sheriff's Department.
(WSGW, Saginaw)

(MI-Gas Prices Rise)
Hold on to your wallet at the gas pump in the coming days.
Gas prices around Michigan shot up to around $2.50 a gallon on Thursday and analyst Patrick DeHaan is predicting it may be the start of several price hikes. He blames an increase of up to 27-cents a gallon in wholesale gas prices yesterday for rising prices nationwide.
GasBuddy spotters peg Michigan's average price at two-dollars-32 cents a gallon, while Triple-A Michigan has it at two-30. However, prices have already started to rise to around two-dollars-50 cents a gallon in several areas of the state.
(24/7 News Source)

(US Supreme Court-DeBoer Filings)
The same-sex couple who challenged Michigan’s ban on licensing same-sex marriages in DeBoer v. Snyder filed their opening brief in the Supreme Court case on Friday.
Attorneys Carole Stanyar of Ann Arbor and Dana Nessel of Detroit are on the brief along with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).
Responses from the states are due March 27th.
Plaintiffs in cases from Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee also filed briefs on Friday. The high court last month agreed to review the four cases.
The Michigan case was brought by a Hazel Park lesbian couple who have not been able to jointly adopt their children as a result of the state's 2004, voter-approved same sex marriage ban.
Oral arguments in will be heard by the court in late April, and a ruling is expected before the end of June.
Stanyar said Friday afternoon that in their briefs they emphasized that the law causes (quote) "a serious persistent wide ranging injury to children." The children are also parties in the case.

(UM-Greeks Sanctioned)
The University of Michigan has handed down sanctions against the fraternities and sororities that caused an estimated 125-thousand dollars damage at two Northern Michigan ski resorts.
The school announced today (Friday) it will no longer recognize Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and has placed Sigma Delta Tau sorority on disciplinary suspension for two years following the groups' involvement in vandalizing the Treetops ski resort in Gaylord in January.
In addition to the university's dismissal of Sigma Alpha Mu, U-M officials have also asked the fraternity's national office to revoke the charter of the U-M chapter and place additional sanctions on the fraternity before it could again become of part of Greek Life on campus.
More than 120 fraternity and sorority members damaged 45 rooms at the Treetops Resort, causing significant damage to ceiling tiles in the hallway, broken furniture, broken windows.
U-M President Mark Schlissel said he is "profoundly disappointed" in the actions of the students.
The university also issued lesser sanctions against two other fraternities, Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi, and two sororities, Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma, who were involved in damage the same weekend at Boyne Highlands. But officials said those incidents were determined not to be malicious.
All six Greek organizations have been suspended by their national chapters.
U-M leaders say they are also working to hold individual students accountable. Meanwhile, an investigation by the Michigan State Police is still underway in order to decide whether criminal charges will follow.

(Wayne State-Civil Rights Martyr)
For the first time in its history, Wayne State University will grant an honorary doctorate degree posthumously.
The honor is being bestowed upon Viola Liuzzo (lee OOZE - oh) the Detroit mother of five who was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1965.
At the time she was killed, Liuzzo was 39 and a student at Wayne State. She participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery and it was during that trip that a car full of Klansmen pulled up beside her and opened fire killing her.
The honorary degree will be presented to Liuzzo's children at a ceremony scheduled for April 11th, the day Viola Liuzzo would have turned 90.
(24/7 News Source)

(UM-Consumer Confidence)
Consumer optimism was affected in February by lower gas prices and an unusually harsh winter but the small overall decline from January still left consumer confidence at the highest levels in eight years.
That's according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
U-M economist Richard Curtin, who directs the surveys, says it's hard not to attribute the small February decline to the temporary impact of the harsh weather, as declines that occurred in the Northeast and Midwest were triple the average loss, while Southern residents grew more optimistic.
He says low gas prices had a larger impact on lower income households, narrowing the difference between low and high income households. The data indicate that total real personal consumption expenditures will grow at 3.3 percent during 2015.
The Consumer Sentiment Index was 95.4 in the February survey, just below January's expansion peak of 98.1, but well above last February's 81.6.
The Current Conditions Index fell to 106.9 in February from 109.3 one month ago and was well above last February's 95.4. The Expectations Index fell to 88.0 from 91.0 in January but was substantially above last February reading of 72.7.
The surveys have been conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research since 1946.

(MI-University Performance)
Michigan's 15 public universities are among the best in the nation in graduating students and controlling costs.
That's according to a study of metrics released by Business Leaders for Michigan, the state's business roundtable.
Among the highlights of the study, 12 institutions bettered the national average and eight were in the top 20 percent for critical skills degrees. Ten were above average (seven in the top 20 percent) for total degrees conferred.
The report said the state ranked 6th overall for number of degrees and 5th for critical skill degrees. At the same time, all 15 universities increased the number of students receiving federal Pell grants and nine reduced administrative costs as a percentage of their budgets.

(Escanaba-Shipyard Fined)
Escanaba's Basic Marine Shipyard has been fined $243,000 for 18 safety violations.
Scott Allen of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that the company has a repeated poor safety record, and does not care about the safety of its workers. The OSHA Region Five office in Chicago conducted the inspections a few months ago.
Amongst the violations: not meeting respiratory protection standards, "struck-by" hazards, and falls from trips from unguarded manholes.
Allen says that crane slings were not inspected every three months as required, and inspection records were not properly maintained. He says Basic Marine was cited in 2011 for safety problems and a worker lost an arm in 2008 after an accident there.
Besides the fines, OSHA is putting Basic Marine in the agency's "Severe Violator Enforcement Program". That will mean more unannounced inspections of the facility in the future.
Basic Marine spokesperson Terrie Peters said in a statement that they believe the findings in the report are inaccurate and are being contested as allowed per OSHA’s procedures.
(Radio Results Network, Escanaba/Marquette/Manistique)

(Eaton Co-Insurance Fraud)
A 64-year-old Detroit area man was sentenced Thursday to one year in jail for selling fake insurance certificates.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd announced Hakeem Olayinka Sanusi of Eastpointe pleaded no contest last month to six felony counts of insurance fraud as a habitual offender.
Sanusi was arrested in September 2013 after Secretary of State staff suspected customers had sent in fake insurance certificates to renew their license plate tabs.
The case was investigated by the Michigan State Police.

(Jackson Co-Boyfriend Stabbing Death)
A Jackson woman has been charged in the Valentine's Day stabbing death of her live-in boyfriend.
42-year-old Dawn Dixon-Bey was arraigned today (Friday) on a charge of open murder.
Prosecutors say Dixon-Bey may have stabbed 49-year old Gregory Stack on at least two or three other occasions before the February 14th incident at their home. Stack was found with a single stab wound to the chest. He later died of his injuries.
The couple reportedly had been in a relationship for 14 years and recently moved into the residence on the city's north side.
Dixon-Bey is being held without bond at the Jackson County Jail pending a March 12 preliminary examination.

(Detroit-Bond Reduced)
The Detroit couple accused of abusing their son was back in court today and had their bonds lowered.
46-year old Charles Bothuell (BUH-thoo-ell) the Fourth and his wife 37-year old Monique Dillard-Bothuell originally were ordered held in custody on 500-thousand dollars bond. Wayne County Judge Shannon Holmes reduced that amount to 50-thousand dollars for each defendant. They are facing charges of child abuse and child torture.
The couple reported 12-year-old Charlie Bothuell missing last June but he was found 14 days later in the couple's basement. The child told police his Dillard-Bothuell physically abused him and would deny him food, while his father forced him to do an extreme exercise routine or be punished.
(24/7 News Source)

(Kentwood-Daycare Shut Down-UPDATE)
The investigation by the state into the death of a three-month-old baby in West Michigan is turning up evidence the little boy died about an hour before his father picked him up.
Bridges Day Care in Kentwood has been shut down by state regulators as a result of Cooper Fales' death last Friday.
The Department of Human Services shut down the daycare Wednesday after 11 violations were discovered at the home.
Among the allegations are claims that Bridges Day Care lacked appropriate supervision for children, failed to maintain proper bedding and sleeping arrangements, had more children than allowed, and failed to maintain a clean and safe environment for the children being cared for at the home.
The state also claims that Teresa Mowers, the owner of the facility, lied to state authorities who were investigating Cooper’s death.
(Help from: WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Detroit-Stolen Car-Gas Leak)
Authorities are searching for two suspects who stole a car from a gas station on Detroit and crashed into a nearby building, causing a gas leak in the area.
The situation unfolded just before 5:30 a.m. this morning (Friday) at a gas station on the city's northwest side, just west of the Lodge Freeway.
A 52-year-old man told police he had left his car running unattended outside of the station when two suspects entered the vehicle and drove away at a high rate of speed. The suspects drove about two blocks until they crashed into a business and struck a gas meter, causing a gas leak. The suspects then fled the scene.
Police responded to the crash site and notified DTE Energy officials.
Investigators are now looking for the suspects, but have not yet provided their physical descriptions.
(WWJ, Detroit)

(Grand Haven-Sword Attack)
No one was injured after a Grand Haven woman called police during the overnight hours to report her boyfriend was threatening to attack her with a sword.
According to police chief Jeff Hawke, officers arrived at the home around 1:00 a.m. this morning (Friday) to a brief standoff situation after which the alleged assailant did eventually surrender.
Police said the woman fled the home with her two children -- one of whom is fathered by the suspect.
He's lodged in the Ottawa County jail and is expected to be arraigned on felony assault charges later today. His name has not been released.
(WGHN, Grand Haven)



(MI-Ice Breaking Delay)
There's been a delay in the U.S. Coast Guard ice chopping operation on Lake Michigan.
The Coast Guard says the Arthur M. Anderson won't arrive until Saturday, thanks to the heavy ice that has formed on the Great Lakes. The vessel will enter the ship canal from Lake Michigan on its way to the Bay Ship Building in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, this weekend.
Officials say all ice fishermen should remove ice shanties in these areas. Snowmobile riders and fishermen should avoid these areas and use caution in other areas near the ice.
(Radio Results Network, Escanaba/Marquette/Manistique)

(Capitol-Budget Cuts)
The Michigan Senate today (Thurs) approved bills that trim 420 (m) million dollars from the current year budget.
The cut in General Fund spending is part of a move to balance this year's budget, as required by the Michigan Constitution.
The bills will now head to the governor's desk for his signature.
The legislation follows an executive order from the governor that cut another 110 (m) million dollars.
Democrats opposed the 420 (m) million dollar cut because it transfers 167 (m) million dollars from the School Aid Fund. Their proposal to stop the transfer was rejected on the floor of the Senate.

(Capitol-Film Tax Credit)
There's an effort underway at the state Capitol to kill the so-called Hollywood film tax credit of $50 million.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce told the House Tax Policy Committee Wednesday that there's not enough of a return on the investment and it's unfair to taxpayers to subsidize out-of-state Hollywood film producers.
The Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy says according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 15-hundred film jobs in 2007 and 16-hundred this year so it's not a viable industry outside of these incentives.
However, Teamsters union members complain that if you take away the tax incentive, you will take away their jobs. They contend more jobs will be created in the movie industry if the state helps out.
The committee chair Republican Jeff Farrington, says there are better ways to create jobs and believes he has the votes to move the bill to the House floor, perhaps as early as next week.

(Capitol-Sale Tax Language)
New language for the May 5th ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax to increase road funding makes clear that it removes the sales tax on gas and that the tax would adjust for inflation.
The Bureau of Elections released the amended language yesterday (Wed) that it will take to the Board of State Canvassers on Thursday for formal approval.
Most notably, the changes clarify that the new percentage-based tax on the wholesale price of gas will adjust annually for inflation. It also makes clear that the increase in the sales tax, from 6 percent to 7 percent, would replace much of the revenue lost as a result of no longer applying the sales tax to motor fuel.

(MI-Women Gun Permits)
A growing number of women statewide are packing heat.
According to a report in the Detroit News, records from the Michigan State Police show the number of women statewide who received or renewed concealed pistol licenses rose from 10,862 in 2010 to 25,418 last year, an increase of 134 percent.
The number of newly issued licenses dipped, however, from 2013 to 2014. Statewide, numbers from the Michigan State Police say 114,872 people obtained or renewed concealed pistol licenses in 2014.
Michigan has about 457,550 active concealed pistol license holders, according to the state police, up from 401,000 in 2011.

(Traverse City-City Manager Investigated)
A northern Michigan government official is under investigation as he is hospitalized in Grand Rapids.
According to reports, police were called to the home of Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess on Monday, February 16 by his mother, who said he was drunk all weekend and was trying to assault her.
Ottenwess was taken into protective custody by police and taken to Munson Medical Center.
Ottenwess has since e-mailed the assistant city manager and city attorney to say he's in "treatment in Grand Rapids" and will be there for several weeks.
Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley says because his department was not initially called to the scene, they're still working on piecing together what happened as part of their investigation. A report will be forwarded to the prosecutor for review.
(24/7 News Source)

(Auburn Hills-Chrysler Recall)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling approximately 25-thousand 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans due to a transmission issue.
All the vehicles involved in the recall have the V-6 engine. The company says the transmission may not be able to be put in park.
Officials say owners of the cars in the recall should use the emergency brake before turning the motor off. No injuries have been reported because of the defect which was traced back to the assembly of the transmission at a supplier's plant.
Customers will be sent instructions on where to take their vehicle which will be repaired at no charge.
(24/7 News Source)

(Grand Rapids-Student Threat Targets)
Grand Rapids police are saying the 17-year old who made Instagram threats last Sunday was targeting three girls.
Detectives say Matthew Herrington told them he wanted to see those girls come to West Catholic High School Monday morning with "fear in their eyes". Two girls were told "You two will be the first".   Police say he told a third girl, "You will be number 5".
Herrington, who is an honor student, has been suspended and banned from diocese of Grand Rapids school property.
He will be arraigned March 3rd on charges of making a terrorist threat or false report of terrorism and is facing up to 40 years in prison.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Van Buren Co-Drug Arrest)
A 20-year-old southwest Michigan man is behind bars awaiting arraignment on drug and concealed weapons-related charges.
According to the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department, the man was seen "lingering around the Dollar General store" in Hartford around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, prompting a call to police.
The man initially denied having any drugs or weapons, but a search found a bag of meth, a semi-automatic pistol and a knife. The charges the Hartford man will face have not been released by police, and he remains in the Van Buren County Jail pending his arraignment.
(Michael Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that Michigan's child poverty rate could be cut in half when the positive effect of government programs and tax policies are taken into account, That includes state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits.
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy, says Michigan's child poverty could be reduced from 30-percent to 15-percent when government transfers like food assistance, state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits, cash assistance, child care assistance and housing subsidies are counted.
Zehnder-Merrell says voting "yes" May 5th on the road funding package will trigger the reinstatement of the state Earned Income Tax Credit to 20-percent of the federal credit, which will help more than one (M) million Michigan children in working families. She says 341-thousand Michigan children are lifted from poverty when such programs are available.
Meantime, the League also recommends that state policymakers ease a harsh state asset test on food assistance that limits federally funded food aid; revisit the strict 48-month time limit on cash assistance for families playing by the rules; employ two-generation strategies such as connecting job training opportunities to Head Start and Great Start Readiness preschool so more parents can access better-paying jobs and update state child care subsidies for parents searching for work or working for low wages. The subsidies have not kept pace with inflation.

(MI-Homeland Security Grants)
Eighty-four Michigan communities may feel the impact of a deadlock in Congress if a deal isn't reached to fund the U.S. Homeland Security Department.
If Congress can't come to terms and the department partially shuts down Friday, MLive reports 91 federal grants awarded to 84 Michigan communities to fund firefighter salaries, equipment and fire safety initiatives could be affected.
Communities all over the state received grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranging from just a few thousand dollars to $25 million.
But officials in Detroit, which was awarded over $25 million for salaries and equipment, isn't worried yet. But, John Roach, a spokesman for the mayor's office, says they are studying the issue closely.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday cleared the way for a vote on a funding bill. But the measure could face opposition in the House as it does not include key provisions to block President Obama's immigration reforms.

(MI-Comerica Economic Index)
Comerica Bank's Michigan Economic Activity Index grew in December, increasing 0.4 percentage points to a level of 120.
December's reading is 46 points, or 62 percent, above the index cyclical low of 73.8. The index averaged 117.3 points for all of 2014, three and one-tenth points above the index average for 2013.
November's index reading was 119.6.
Comerica Bank Chief Economist Robert Dye says they anticipate only limited gains from auto production driving the Michigan economy in 2015. However, they expect to see more improvement in housing markets, both in terms of residential construction and also in terms of house price gains in 2015.
According to Dye, labor market conditions will continue to improve this year, providing a broadening base of support for the Michigan economy.

(Bay Co-Ponzi Scheme Trial)
The Bay County trial is underway for a Saginaw man accused of running an extensive Ponzi scheme.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office, which is prosecuting the case, says 32-year old Joel Wilson defrauded at least three Michigan victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Approximately $8.5 million in investor funds is missing.
Wilson was extradited from Germany in January 2014 after being on the lam in Europe for more than a year.
Wilson allegedly began scamming investors in 2009 through his operation of The Diversified Group, an investment company with multiple locations in Bay County. Attorney General Bill Schuette says Wilson told victims that he would use their funds to purchase "distressed properties" in the Saginaw and Bay City areas.
Prosecutors say Wilson failed to make profits and used investment money to repay some of his clients. He also allegedly used nearly 50-thousand dollars to buy personal items and pay expenses.
Wilson is charged with nine felonies including racketeering and the sale of unregistered securities. If convicted, he faces up to twenty years in prison.

(Hell-For Sale)
A campaign to purchase Hell is underway on the Internet.
The leader of an organization in Detroit called Damned has begun the push to raise money to purchase the hamlet of Hell located in Livingston County's Putnam Township.
The leader is known as Anthony DVS and he is hoping his kick-starter campaign will raise over one-point three-million dollars. Damned has an art show in Detroit around Halloween each year and plans to build a performance arts center for year-round use in Hell.
John Colone, the self-styled Mayor of Hell, currently owns the diner and ice cream shop, a wedding chapel, a miniature golf course and a souvenir shop. On Friday, February 13th he put his Hell assets up for sale for 999-thousand-666 dollars.
(24/7 News Source)



(Grand Rapids-Chickens Allowed)
People are going to be allowed to raise chickens in Grand Rapids.
The City Commission approved an ordinance allowing the birds today, after previously postponing talks about the controversial proposal.
Third Ward City Commissioner Senita Lenear expressed concerns about Salmonella and other health-related issues. However, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell says other communities that allow the animals have not discussed problems like that.
(24/7 News Source)

(Capitol-Sex Crimes)
Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced in the state House in Lansing that would remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes.
Republican Holly Hughes of Montague, and Democrat Pam Faris of Clio introduced the legislation Tuesday, saying there is no recourse for victims of crimes committed before 2001 under current Michigan law.
Hughes says the bill will give victims of criminal sexual abuse a voice, regardless of when they became victims noting that many times, victims suppress their memories of the crime and don’t recall them for years.
State laws were amended in 2001 to remove statutes of limitation for crimes involving criminal sexual conduct. However, the changes only applied to cases of abuse which occurred after 2001. This new legislation would allow charges to be brought against abusers regardless of when the crime occurred.
The bill has been referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.
(Help from: WWJ, Detroit)

(MI-Motor Carrier Officers)
A top State Police official says the department now has 95 motor carrier officers who enforce laws governing commercial motor vehicles and optimally would like to employ 125.
Captain Michael Krumm, director of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, told the House Appropriations State Police Subcommittee that 11 new motor carrier officers will soon come off probation, bringing force levels to 106.
But Krumm said having 125 would allow the division to keep weigh stations open longer and cover more areas.
The motor carrier officer school planned for this fiscal year would be moved to the upcoming 2015-16 fiscal year under Governor Rick Snyder's budget recommendation.

(Capitol-Gun Bills)
Michigan's county gun board permit system for concealed weapons would be scrapped under a pair of bills that could see a vote in the Michigan House as early as today (Wed).
The bills have already passed the Senate.
The measure transfers most county gun board tasks to local county clerks.
This two bill package follows the governor's veto of generally similar bills last year that he said contained language that would have lifted a concealed weapon prohibition for subjects of a personal protection order.
The new version does not include that language.
Sponsors say the package ensures promptness in permitting, and also reduces the application and licensing fee.

(Capitol-Sentencing Reform)
Legislative workgroups begin meeting in Lansing today (Wed) in a renewed effort to reform sentencing guidelines in Michigan.
Lawmakers admit to the delicate nature of the discussion, since changing guidelines in an effort to reduce costs in corrections can be interpreted as being soft on crime.
Two bills to reform the guidelines have been introduced in the Michigan House. They're sponsored by Republicans Kurt Heise of Plymouth and Martin Howrylak of Troy.
Efforts on similar bills last term failed to get final approval.
The bills make changes to the probation and parole system.
The sponsors say the goal is to balance adequate punishment with fiscal realities.
Michigan's corrections budget has continually grown, and now exceeds two (b) billion dollars per year and represents 20 percent of the state budget.

(Capitol-Hacker Attacks)
Hacker attacks continue to plague state government computer systems in Michigan as the number of incidents continue to grow.
Director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, David Behen told a House committee yesterday (Tue) the state stops about 730,000 attacks on its IT network each day. That's up from last year when the state blocked 530,000 attacks a day.
Michigan currently spends about $22 million a year on cyber security. Governor Rick Snyder has proposed adding $7 million to that amount in the 2015-16 budget year, money that Behen says will be used strengthen the state's hardware and software systems as well as continuous monitoring of those systems.
Behen says the state needs to remain vigilant against increasingly sophisticated hackers. He says the state's system works relatively well, blocking most attacks, but notes that hackers were successful in shutting down state systems a few times last year for a couple hours.

(MI-J.D. Powers Study)
Lexus again finished tops overall in J.D. Powers annual dependability study, but General Motors products and brands showed significant gains.
Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power, says Buick moved up to second, followed by Honda and Cadillac. Toyota’s continued to perform very well.
Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study-now in its 26th year-surveyed 35,000 owners of three year old vehicles, looking at “problems per 100 vehicles.”
General Motors tied Toyota for most vehicles ranked top in their individual categories with seven. All four of GM’s brands finished in the top ten.
The top owner complaints surrounded technology that either didn’t work as expected, or was hard to use.
Problems with My Ford Touch likely lead to the Ford brands poor showing. By contrast, the Lincoln brand did quite well in the study, finishing in 7th place, just ahead of Mercedes Benz.
All of Fiat-Chrysler’s brands-with the exception of Ram Trucks-finished below average in the JD Power study, with the Fiat brand finishing last. Stevens says there are a lot of minor quality issues, like clocks not operating.
While cars and trucks have improved greatly in the 26 years that this study has done, Stevens says they’ve added a lot of extras, and those extras haven’t always worked perfectly. That comes at a time of rising prices, and rising consumer expectations.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit)

(Battle Creek-Ambulance Crash-UPDATE)
The Secretary of State's office says the driver who hit an ambulance in Battle Creek early yesterday morning had just gotten her license back after it was suspended in 2009.
The LifeCare Ambulance was rushing 74-year old cardiac patient David Simpson of Battle Creek to the hospital with its lights and sirens on when the car driven by 61-year old Shirley Ann Stokes of Battle Creek failed to stop at an intersection about three blocks from Bronson Battle Creek Hospital.
Stokes and a passenger in her vehicle, 54-year old James Stokes of Battle Creek, were pronounced dead at the scene. Simpson was transferred to another ambulance after the crash but died moments after arriving at the hospital.
Police believe alcohol and speed played roles in the accident.

(Muskegon Co-Casino Progress)
The former Great Lakes Downs horse racing track is a step closer to being turned into a casino.
An application to put the 60-acre property into a federal trust has been filed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The tribe is seeking to build a facility that's roughly the same size as the Firekeeper's Casino in the Battle Creek area with a 69-thousand square foot gaming area and a 220-room hotel.
A decision is expected in 2016.
(24/7 News Source)

(MI/DC-Keystone Veto Reaction)
Michigan's petroleum industry is reacting to President Obama's veto of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.
The president yesterday (Tue) vetoed legislation that would have allowed for the pipeline that would deliver 800-thousand barrels of petroleum a day from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
John Griffin of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan says while the pipeline wasn't going to run through Michigan, the state has many traveling pipeline workers and a number of manufacturers that make equipment used on pipelines all across the country, so Michigan has a manufacturing and worker base impacted by the president's action.
Griffin says the petroleum will get to market somehow, but a pipeline would be the most efficient way. He says the veto is a big hit to U.S. jobs and U.S. energy security.
Environmental groups have praised the president's action.

(MI-Lottery Winner)
An Allegan County woman became the first $1 million winner playing the Michigan Lottery’s online games.
Lottery officials say Pam Rawson of Grand Junction made history while playing Diamond Payout online on February 18. She visited Lottery headquarters this week to collect her prize.
Rawson said when she started playing she had $15 in her online Lottery account and won $150. That’s when she decided to give Diamond Payout a try and on her second $20 ticket, she won the $1 million.
For Rawson, who works as an instructional aide at a local elementary school, winning $1 million couldn’t have come at a better time. She recently won a cruise, but had to decline the trip to have a medical procedure done and was left with medical bills to pay.
With her windfall, Rawson is considering buying a new home, paying off some bills, taking a vacation, and investing the remainder for retirement.

--- Note Nature ---
(Kent Co-Child Sex Charges)
A Belding man who had already been charged with making sexually explicit videos with children, and convicted of other sex crimes, now stands accused of raping an 18 month old girl.
Police say 28 year old Eric Masters attacked the toddler in a Byron Township motel over an eight day period in 2012. Masters is also being investigated by the FBI for attacks in the West Michigan area and the Upper Peninsula in 2011 and 2013. He was arraigned on the most recent charges this week in Kent County Circuit Court.
Masters faces life in prison and is being held on a quarter million dollar bond.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Ypsilanti Twp-Change Locks Shooting)
The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office says a man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend at her Ypsilanti Township home.
Police say a maintenance man was changing the locks on the home when the suspect showed up brandishing a handgun. The maintenance man fled and called 9-1-1. The ex-boyfriend then went inside the brick home and fired several shots.
MLive reports the 35-year-old woman who lives at the house is in critical condition at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
The woman has four children who range from 4 to 10 years of age. They were not at home at the time of the shooting and are all being taken care of by family.
Deputies captured the ex-boyfriend in a nearby neighborhood within 10 minutes of the shooting.
He was taken to the Washtenaw County Jail where he will likely be facing criminal charges.

(MI-Skilled Trades Training)
Students at 18 community colleges across the state will gain in-demand skills using state-of-the-art equipment and training through a $50 million grant program.
Governor Rick Snyder says the Michigan Economic Development Corporation approval of schools selected through the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program is an effort to help close a talent gap and meet a demand for good-paying jobs.
Snyder announced in October that the grant program was created to provide funding that enables Michigan community colleges to purchase equipment required for educational programs in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand occupations.
The Michigan Strategic Fund has authorized issuing bonds to fund the program.
Chuck Hadden, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, says manufacturing has created more than 114,500 jobs since 2009 and employers are still searching to fill thousands of available positions.
The 18 community colleges selected to receive grants will provide more than $21.5 million in matching funds.
The program also requires collaboration with school districts and a detailed plan on how the additional funding will help to meet employers’ job needs.

(Berkley-Note A Hoax)
It was just a joke, but police aren’t laughing.
Metro Detroit was abuzz with worry Monday night after a 9-year-old boy left a note at a Berkley restaurant indicating he was in danger. As it turns out, however, the kid was just goofing around and is fine - other than that he will be grounded for life.
The bizarre incident unfolded Monday afternoon, at Alex’s Restaurant in Berkley, where the boy scribbled a note that read: “I’m with some people. Please help me” - setting off a search.
The boy was seen on security video looking over his shoulder as he wrote the note, and then leaving with two women and two other children. The restaurant’s staff found the note when they were cleaning up and called police.
Investigators Monday night reached out to the public for information, and the boy’s mother came forward.
Berkley Police Lieutenant Mike Crum said once the boy was located, it was quickly determined that the whole thing was hoax.
He says no legal action will be taken and police are confident the 9-year-old’s parents will do an excellent job handling his punishment at home.
(WWJ, Detroit)

(East Lansing-Refugee False Claims)
An Iraqi refugee living in East Lansing is facing charges of making false statements to a federal agent after lying to the FBI about ties to terrorism.
The Detroit News reports 29-year-old Al-Hamzah Mohammad Jawad told Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus last week that he was flying to Amman, Jordan with plans to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and intended to go to Irag to conduct Jihad.
Investigators searched Jawad's cell phone and laptop at his East Lansing apartment and found nothing to confirm his claims.
Jawad eventually admitted to FBI agents that his claims were a farce. He would not provide and explanation for why he had fabricated this story, stating only that his home life was mess.
Jawad is currently jailed pending a detention hearing before a federal magistrate.



(Mackinac Bridge-Crash Closes Bridge)
The Mackinac Bridge is closed due to a a multiple-vehicle crash and poor visibility caused by high winds and whiteout conditions.
The Michigan Department of Transportation says the bridge is expected to be closed for several hours until the weather conditions improve.
The Mackinac Bridge Authority is instructing motorists to reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour as they approach the bridge and be prepared to stop. Bridge personnel are stationed at both ends of the structure to provide instructions.
Conditions are being monitored at various points along the structure and the MBA says when conditions improve, the bridge will be reopened to traffic.

(Battle Creek-Three Killed Ambulance Crash)
Three people were killed in Battle Creek this morning (Tuesday) when an ambulance was hit by car that went through a stop light.
The ambulance was rushing a patient to the hospital with its lights and sirens on when the car failed to stop at an intersection about three blocks from Bronson Battle Creek Hospital.
A man and woman in the car were pronounced dead at the scene. The patient in the ambulance died moments after arriving at the hospital. Names are not being released at this time.
A Battle Creek firefighter in the ambulance also was injured.
Police say speed and alcohol may have been factors in the crash.
(Robert Nelson, WBCK, Battle Creek)

(MI-Research Vessel)
The Department of Natural Resources has announced construction of its new Lake Huron fisheries research vessel.
The R/V Tanner will be built by Andersen Boat Works of Saugatuck. It will replace the aging R/V Chinook, which has been operating on the Great Lakes since 1947.
DNR officials say the new vessel will be a 57-foot, aluminum-hulled vessel closely modeled after the R/V Lake Char, the DNR’s Lake Superior fisheries research vessel launched in 2007. It will be powered by twin engines and will have a greater cruising range and speed.
DNR Fisheries Division boat captain Jeff Diemond says the R/V Tanner will allow staff at the Alpena Fisheries Research Station to continue their work on Lake Huron and the St. Marys River with tremendous improvements in safety, flexibility and dependability over its projected 50-plus-year life span.
Construction will take place over the next year, with delivery scheduled for April 2016.
A final resting place, including an educational display, is being explored for the R/V Chinook after its decommissioning.
(Help from: WATZ, Alpena)

(MI-Great Lakes Ice)
A record could be set this weekend for ice coverage on the Great Lakes.
The five lakes were 84-point-four-percent covered by ice as of Sunday, and more bitter cold air is dropping into the area this week. chief meteorologist Mark Torregrossa (TORE-uh-gross-uh) says it's a possibility that the lakes could surpass the 1979 record of 94-point-seven-percent ice coverage if winds on Lake Michigan today don't kick up too much and break up some of the ice.
Torregrossa adds that the high percentage of ice on the lakes will likely result in a cooler than normal summer, and a late arrival for spring.
(24/7 News Source)

(Detroit-Apartment Complex Fire)
After battling a massive fire at an apartment building in the freezing cold overnight, Detroit firefighters have decided to just “let it burn” because it was too dangerous to get inside the building.
The blaze started around 11:30 p.m. Monday in an east side neighborhood. Crews remained on the scene this (Tuesday) morning and flames were still visible from blocks away.
Firefighters are being hampered by the frigid cold with temperatures in the single digits. Some equipment is nearly frozen solid and pavement around the complex is ice covered.
The fire has been contained to one building, but crews are now just going to let the blaze run its course.
All nine families living in the building escaped the fire without injuries. One firefighter suffered a minor back injury, but is expected to be OK.
A cause of the fire remains under investigation.
(Mike Campbell, WWJ, Detroit)

(Kent Co-Infant Measles Test)
Preliminary tests by the Michigan Department of Community Health are coming back negative for measles for an 11-month-old in Kent County.
The county health department says the tests still need to be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante notes the chance that the Gaines Township girl has the measles is very low.
The child was treated for a rash last week and had a few symptoms of measles, but was not fully consistent with the illness. The baby is too young to receive a measles vaccine which is given to children at 12 to 15 months.
Another child in neighboring Allegan County is being monitored for a suspected case of measles.
The entire state of Michigan had only five cases of measles last year.
(24/7 News Source/WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Lake Odessa-Fire Charges Filed)
An Ionia County man is not cooperating with police as they investigate a suspicious fire and shooting at his home last week.
The Lake Odessa man is now charged with three felonies, including making a false police report of arson. Authorities have determined the gunshot wound he suffered to his arm was self-inflicted.
The suspect remains hospitalized in Grand Rapids, and his name won't be released until his arraignment.
(24/7 News Source)

(Kalamazoo Co-Serial Arsonist)
Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputies have a suspected serial arsonist in custody.
Anthony Packard was arraigned Monday on several charges, including three counts of fourth degree arson. He faces up to five years in prison on each arson charge.
The 32-year old Packard was picked up over the weekend after two different vehicle fires in the Texas Township area.
A fire was reported at Calvary Reformed Church late Saturday night and a second vehicle fire took place at a mobile home park.
Authorities say Packard got stuck in a snowbank following the second fire. The Texas Township man fled the scene on foot but authorities found him hiding under a stairwell nearby.
Investigators believe Packard is responsible for five other vehicle arsons, dating back to September 2014.
Packard was ordered held on a $50,000 cash bond with the condition he first undergoes a mental health evaluation and does not possess illegal firearms if released. A preliminary examination is scheduled for March 11.
(Help from: Robert Nelson, WBCK, Battle Creek)

(MI-Election Day)
It's not considered a big election day, but some local communities in Michigan are making some important decisions today (Tue).
About 40 ballot questions are before local voters around the state, including three communities where voters are asked to increase taxes for local roads.
They include Muskegon County, Kalamazoo Township and Mills Township in Midland County.
The election occurs less than three months before a statewide ballot proposal increasing the sales tax as part of an effort to trigger more money for roads, schools and local government.
Both supporters and opponents of the May proposal will be watching today's elections closely.
Other local proposals today ask for more school funding, and at least one community, Montrose in Genesee county, is deciding on a proposal to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana.

(Mi-MRA-Proposal One)
While approval would have its benefits, the state's largest retailers organization has taken no position on the upcoming May vote on how to raise more funding for the repair of Michigan roads and bridges.
As the exact wording becomes finalized this week, Tom Scott, of the Michigan Retailers Association says their membership has decided not to take a stand on the statewide ballot proposal since there are mixed feelings
among retailers about raising the state sales tax, although they would benefit greatly from improved roads to transport goods.
The proposal would raise the sales tax from six-to-seven-percent, elminate the sales tax on fuel and target a portion of the use tax for the school aid fund. Another portion could be used for community colleges and career/technical education.   It would also, if approved, include an increase in the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel and vehicle registration fees, dedicating that revenue for roads and transportation programs.
Meantime the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and Business Leaders for Michigan all support Proposal One, while the National Federation of Independent Businesses oppose it. The Michigan State Chamber of Commerce is, as yet, undecided on the issue.

(MI-PAC Fundraising)
A new report shows Michigan political action committees (PAC) raised a record setting $68 million in the 2014 election cycle.
According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the 150 political action committees that raised the most money during the two-year 2014 cycle brought in about $17 million more than the previous record set in the 2006 cycle.
The report also notes that many of the PACs were super PACs, which can accept funds from corporate and union accounts.
The Republican Governors Association Michigan PAC raised the most in the 2014 cycle, with more than $4.6 million. Much of that amount was returned to the parent RGA organization, which spent millions on ads supporting Governor Rick Snyder in the governor's race.
The House Republican Campaign Committee was second and the Michigan House Democratic Fund was third on the MCFN's list.

(Detroit-Bridge Appeal)
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeals case challenging the construction of a new International Trade Crossing.
The Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge, and a group in southwest Detroit called Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, argued the project would have a negative environmental impact on Detroit's Delray neighborhood.
But the Supreme Court yesterday (Mon) denied a hearing without attaching any comment for its decision rejecting the appeal of a Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
The Sixth Circuit ruling last June rejected the argument that there would be a negative environmental impact saying the Federal Highway Administration conducted an exhaustive study and made a reasonable determination based on all the comparative information available.

(Wexford Co-Fatal Crash Sentence)
A Grand Rapids area man is on his way to prison for a traffic accident in northern Michigan that killed his girlfriend last fall.
24-year old Joshua Fournier of Caledonia was sentenced Monday in Wexford County to four to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to operating while intoxicated, causing death, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault, causing death.
24-year old Nicole Popa was sleeping in the backseat of the car when Fournier allegedly skidded into the path of a semi truck on M-115 in Clam Lake Township September 13 while returning from a wedding reception.

(MI-School Threats)
High school students on opposite ends of the state are facing charges for making online threats against their school.
17-year old Matthew Herrington of Grand Rapids is charged with two counts of false report or threat of terrorism after police say he admitted to posting messages on Instagram that threatened his classmates at West Catholic High School.
Herrington faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Meantime, a 14-year-old boy is accused of threatening to shoot up Milford High School.
Police arrested the Highland Township teen over the weekend after they say he made a social media post on the website called Kik saying it would be like Columbine.
A student's parents notified police, who then removed several guns from the boy's home.
(Help from: WOOD, Grand Rapids)

(Saugatuck-Best Coastal Small Town)
The Lake Michigan community of Saugatuck is in the running for the Best Coastal Small Town in the country.
USA Today has put up a list of 20 finalists of small towns - each with a population of under 20,000 - with other criteria including offering "uncrowded, unpretentious and affordable seaside fun in small packages that prove bigger isn't always better."
Other finalists include Boca Grande, Florida; Carmel-By-The-Sea, California; Friday Harbor, Washington; Gulf Shores, Alabama; Homer, Alaska and St. Michaels, Maryland.
Voting is open through March 16 at noon, and you can vote once per day at the website
(Michael Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)

(Clinton Twp-Teacher Sex Charge)
A Chippewa Valley High School teacher has been charged with sexual misconduct after allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old student last year.
Twenty-three-year-old Christopher Cowles was arraigned Friday in 41B District Court. He was charged with felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Police say the charge stems from alleged contact between Cowles and a female student in early 2014. The girl's mother called police last month.
Cowles was arrested Thursday at his home in Clinton Township.
Cowles currently is incarcerated in the Macomb County Jail. Bond was set at $250,000 cash or surety.




March 2, 2015

Who will top the list this year? Forbes Magazine announces its annual World Billionaires list of the world’s wealthiest people. 

Today marks the deadline for President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to submit its report on the best means to provide effective partnerships between law enforcement and local communities. 

Get out your books! Today marks Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Education Association, which encourages children to read books and celebrate the 110th birthday of Dr. Suess. 

A pretrial court hearing is scheduled for “The Shield” actor Michael Jace, who has been charged with the murder of his wife April Jace in May 2014. 

NHL games: Nashville Predators at the New York Rangers; Carolina Hurricanes at the Chicago Blackhawks; Montreal Canadiens at the San Jose Sharks.

NBA games: Toronto Raptors at the Philadelphia 76ers; Phoenix Suns at the Miami Heat; Golden State Warriors at the Brooklyn Nets; Los Angeles Clippers at the Minnesota Timberwolves; New Orleans Pelicans at the Dallas Mavericks.

March 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address Congress on Iran after receiving and invitation from House Speaker John Boehner.

NHL games: Nashville Predators at the New Jersey Devils; Calgary Flames at the Philadelphia Flyers; Washington Capitals at the Columbus Blue Jackets; Buffalo Sabres at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Florida Panthers; Ottawa Senators at the Minnesota Wild; New York Islanders at the Dallas Stars; Anaheim Ducks at the Arizona Coyotes; Los Angeles Kings at the Edmonton Oilers; San Jose Sharks at the Vancouver Canucks.

NBA games, including Sacramento Kings at the New York Knicks, postponed from January 26 following the snowstorm in the Northeast. Other games today: Boston Celtics at the Cleveland Cavaliers; Los Angeles Lakers at the Charlotte Hornets; Houston Rockets at the Atlanta Hawks; Utah Jazz at the Memphis Grizzlies; Washington Wizards at the Chicago Bulls; Milwaukee Bucks at the Denver Nuggets.

March 4, 2015

Opening statements in the trial of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are set to begin, meaning a sufficient number of qualified jurors in the high-profile death penalty case have been identified.

A probable cause hearing is schedule for Craig Stephen Hicks, who is accused of killing three near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Police said the killing was motivated over a parking dispute, but Muslim civil rights and advocacy organizations have asked authorities to investigate possible religious bias.

NHL games: Ottawa Senators at the Winnipeg Jets; New York Rangers at the Detroit Red Wings; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Colorado Avalanche; Montreal Canadiens at the Anaheim Ducks

NBA games: Phoenix Suns at the Orlando Magic; New York Knicks at the Indiana Pacers; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Toronto Raptors; Charlotte Hornets at the Brooklyn Nets; Utah Jazz at the Boston Celtics; Los Angeles Lakers at the Miami Heat; Philadelphia 76ers at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Detroit Pistons at the New Orleans Pelicans; Denver Nuggets at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Memphis Grizzlies at the Houston Rockets; Sacramento Kings at the San Antonio Spurs; Portland Trail Blazers at the Los Angeles Clippers; Milwaukee Bucks at the Golden State Warriors.

LEGOLAND California will unveil its new Star Wars Miniland Death Star model display.

March 5, 2015

The world's oldest person, Misao Okawa of Osaka, celebrates her 117th birthday.

Nominations are announced for the MTV Movie Awards, which take place on April 12.

How will your company rank? Fortune Magazine reveals its annual ranking of the 100 Best Companies to work for in the U.S.

The House of Representatives goes on break for District Work Period

NHL games: Calgary Flames at the Boston Bruins; St. Louis Blues at the Philadelphia Flyers; Minnesota Wild at the Washington Capitals; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Dallas Stars at the Florida Panthers; New York Islanders at the Nashville Predators; Vancouver Canucks at the Arizona Coyotes; Montreal Canadiens at the Los Angeles Kings.

NBA games: Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chicago Bulls; Dallas Mavericks at the Portland Trail Blazers.

March 6, 2015

How many jobs were added last month in the U.S.? The monthly employment report will be released.

Major League Soccer’s 20th regular season begins, with the Chicago Fire playing at defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.

The sixth annual National Day of Unplugging, which encourages people to switch off their cell phones and computers from sunrise to sunset.

NHL games: Columbus Blue Jackets at the New Jersey Devils; Minnesota Wild at the Carolina Hurricanes; Buffalo Sabres at the Ottawa Senators; Calgary Flames at the Detroit Red Wings; Edmonton Oilers at the Chicago Blackhawks; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Anaheim Ducks

NBA games: Utah Jazz at the Philadelphia 76ers; Sacramento Kings at the Orlando Magic; Chicago Bulls at the Indiana Pacers; Toronto Raptors at the Charlotte Hornets; Phoenix Suns at the Brooklyn Nets; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Atlanta Hawks; Miami Heat at the Washington Wizards; Boston Celtics at the New Orleans Pelicans; Los Angeles Lakers at the Memphis Grizzlies; Detroit Pistons at the Houston Rockets; Denver Nuggets at the San Antonio Spurs; Dallas Mavericks at the Golden State Warriors.

March 7, 2015

The 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when around 600 marchers were attacked by local authorities as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. President Obama will also visit Selma to highlight the upcoming 50th anniversary of the singing of the Voting Rights Act.

Numerous possible 2016 Presidential Candidates are expected to speak at the Iowa Ag Summit, hosted by Bruce Rastetter.

The 30th anniversary of the release of “We Are The World,” until the supergroup title USA (United Support of Artists) for Africa.

NHL games: Philadelphia Flyers at the Boston Bruins; St. Louis Blues at the Toronto Maple Leafs; Dallas Stars at the Tampa Bay Lightning; New York Islanders at the Florida Panthers; Buffalo Sabres at the Washington Capitals; Colorado Avalanche at the Columbus Blue Jackets; Winnipeg Jets at the Nashville Predators; Montreal Canadiens at the Arizona Coyotes; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Los Angeles Kings; Vancouver Canucks at the San Jose Sharks

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race gets underway.

NBA games: Memphis Grizzlies at the New Orleans Pelicans; Atlanta Hawks at the Philadelphia 76ers; Indiana Pacers at the New York Knicks; Sacramento Kings at the Miami Heat; Phoenix Suns at the Cleveland Cavaliers; Portland Trail Blazers at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Washington Wizards at the Milwaukee Bucks; Houston Rockets at the Denver Nuggets.

March 8, 2015

Time to Spring Forward! U.S. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. with clocks going forward one hour.

NHL games: Edmonton Oilers at the Carolina Hurricanes; Philadelphia Flyers at the New Jersey Devils; Colorado Avalanche at the Minnesota Wild; Calgary Flames at the Ottawa Senators; Detroit Red Wings at the Boston Bruins; New York Rangers at the Chicago Blackhawks.

NBA games: Chicago Bulls at the San Antonio Spurs; Los Angeles Clippers at the Golden State Warriors; Boston Celtics at the Orlando Magic; Charlotte Hornets at the Detroit Pistons; Utah Jazz at the Brooklyn Nets; Toronto Raptors at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Dallas Mavericks at the Los Angeles Lakers.

March 9, 2015

The eighth anniversary of retired FBI Special Agent Robert Levinson disappearing during a business trip to Kish Island, Iran.

The annual crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the historic march by civil rights leaders from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

NHL games: New York Islanders at the Toronto Maple Leafs; Edmonton Oilers at the Detroit Red Wings; Anaheim Ducks at the Vancouver Canucks; Nashville Predators at the Arizona Coyotes; Pittsburgh Penguins at the San Jose Sharks.

NBA games: Washington Wizards at the Charlotte Hornets; Boston Celtics at the Miami Heat; Sacramento Kings at the Atlanta Hawks; New Orleans Pelicans at the Milwaukee Bucks; Memphis Grizzlies at the Chicago Bulls; New York Knicks at the Denver Nuggets; Golden State Warriors at the Phoenix Suns; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Los Angeles Clippers.

March 10, 2015

Was it road rage or something more?  At 9am a preliminary hearing will be held for Erich Milton Nowsch. He’s accused of killing a woman in a Las Vegas road rage incident, but there are some indications he knew his victim.

Madonna releases new album 'Rebel Heart' following the surprise release of the first six songs - 'Living For Love', 'Devil Pray', 'Ghosttown', 'Unapologetic Bitch', 'Illuminati' and 'Bitch I'm Madonna (featuring Nicki Minaj) - in December as 'an early Christmas gift’.

NHL games: New York Rangers at the New York Islanders; Dallas Stars at the Philadelphia Flyers; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Carolina Hurricanes; Tampa Bay Lightning at the Montreal Canadiens; Boston Bruins at the Ottawa Senators; Winnipeg Jets at the St. Louis Blues; New Jersey Devils at the Minnesota Wild; Los Angeles Kings at the Colorado Avalanche.

NBA games: Orlando Magic at the Indiana Pacers; New Orleans Pelicans at the Brooklyn Nets; Toronto Raptors at the San Antonio Spurs; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Dallas Mavericks; New York Knicks at the Utah Jazz; Detroit Pistons at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Court appearance scheduled for the longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school, Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, 75, who has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman who worked there.

March 11, 2015

The 30th anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev becoming leader of the Soviet Union following the death of Konstantin Chernenko.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami striking north-eastern Japan, which killed up to 20,00 people.

NHL games: Buffalo Sabres at the Toronto Maple Leafs; New York Rangers at the Washington Capitals; Anaheim Ducks at the Calgary Flames

NBA games: Chicago Bulls at the Philadelphia 76ers; Sacramento Kings at the Charlotte Hornets; Brooklyn Nets at the Miami Heat; Memphis Grizzlies at the Boston Celtics; Los Angeles Clippers at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Orlando Magic at the Milwaukee Bucks; Atlanta Hawks at the Denver Nuggets; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Phoenix Suns; Houston Rockets at the Portland Trail Blazers; Detroit Pistons at the Golden State Warriors.

March 12, 2015

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission is scheduled to launch, which will explore the mystery of how magnetic fields around Earth connect and disconnect over a two-year period.

NHL games: Tampa Bay Lightning at the Boston Bruins; Edmonton Oilers at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Dallas Stars at the Carolina Hurricanes; Ottawa Senators at the Montreal Canadiens; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Detroit Red Wings; Winnipeg Jets at the Florida Panthers; Philadelphia Flyers at the St. Louis Blues; New Jersey Devils at the Colorado Avalanche; Los Angeles Kings at the Vancouver Canucks; Chicago Blackhawks at the Arizona Coyotes; Nashville Predators at the San Jose Sharks.

NBA games: Memphis Grizzlies at the Washington Wizards; Milwaukee Bucks at the Indiana Pacers; Cleveland Cavaliers at the San Antonio Spurs; Houston Rockets at the Utah Jazz; New York Knicks at the Los Angeles Lakers.

March 13, 2015

Waukseha County Circuit Judge Michael Rohren is scheduled to rule if the two suspects in the Slenderman stabbing case should have their trials moved to children’s court.  No need to have on before if.

The 22nd annual South by Southwest Festival gets underway with the world premiere of Ondi Timoner's Russell Brand documentary, 'Brand: A Second Coming’.

Kenneth Branagh's live action flick “Cinderella” in movie theaters. along with new “Frozen” short film.

The second anniversary of Pope Francis being elected.

Happy Birthday to the World’s Oldest Cat. Tiffany Two, a short-haired black and orange tortoiseshell turns 27.

NHL games: Ottawa Senators at the New York Islanders; Dallas Stars at the Washington Capitals; Edmonton Oilers at the Columbus Blue Jackets; Anaheim Ducks at the Minnesota Wild; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Calgary Flames.

NBA games: Sacramento Kings at the Philadelphia 76ers; Chicago Bulls at the Charlotte Hornets; Miami Heat at the Toronto Raptors; Orlando Magic at the Boston Celtics; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Los Angeles Clippers at the Dallas Mavericks; Golden State Warriors at the Denver Nuggets; Detroit Pistons at the Portland Trail Blazers; Atlanta Hawks at the Phoenix Suns.

March 14, 2015

Possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is the featured speaker at the New Hampshire Republican Committee’s 2016 Kickoff Grassroots training event.

NHL games: Detroit Red Wings at the Philadelphia Flyers; Boston Bruins at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Chicago Blackhawks at the San Jose Sharks; New York Rangers at the Buffalo Sabres; Winnipeg Jets at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Montreal Canadiens at the New York Islanders; Florida Panthers at the Carolina Hurricanes; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Vancouver Canucks; Minnesota Wild at the St. Louis Blues; New Jersey Devils at the Arizona Coyotes; Calgary Flames at the Colorado Avalanche; Nashville Predators at the Los Angeles Kings.

NBA games: Sacramento Kings at the Washington Wizards; Boston Celtics at the Indiana Pacers; Brooklyn Nets at the Philadelphia 76ers; Milwaukee Bucks at the Memphis Grizzlies; Detroit Pistons at the Utah Jazz; New York Knicks at the Golden State Warriors.

March 15, 2015

The temporary suspension of the nation's borrowing limit passed by Congress last year expires.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first .com internet domain name registered, which was, a computer manufacturer.

'Selection Sunday’ in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of protests in Syria starting during the Arab Spring, which eventually escalated into a full-blown civil war.

Possibly 2016 Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is the special guest at the Grafton County Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.

Boston hosts its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

NHL games: Florida Panthers at the New York Rangers; Carolina Hurricanes at the Columbus Blue Jackets; St. Louis Blues at the Dallas Stars; Philadelphia Flyers at the Ottawa Senators; Detroit Red Wings at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Boston Bruins at the Washington Capitals; Nashville Predators at the Anaheim Ducks.

NBA games: Chicago Bulls at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Houston Rockets at the Los Angeles Clippers; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Orlando Magic; Denver Nuggets at the New Orleans Pelicans; Portland Trail Blazers at the Toronto Raptors; Minnesota Timberwolves at the San Antonio Spurs; New York Knicks at the Phoenix Suns; Atlanta Hawks at the Los Angeles Lakers.

March 16, 2015

“Dancing with the Stars” returns for its 20th season on ABC. 

National Association of Home Buildings releases its new numbers for the past month.

The House of Representatives returns today from the State Work Period.

NHL games: Washington Capitals at the Buffalo Sabres; Montreal Canadiens at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Edmonton Oilers; Arizona Coyotes at the Los Angeles Kings.

NBA games: Portland Trail Blazers at the Washington Wizards; Toronto Raptors at the Indiana Pacers; Philadelphia 76ers at the Boston Celtics; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat; Brooklyn Nets at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Denver Nuggets at the Memphis Grizzlies; Oklahoma City Thunder at the Dallas Mavericks; Charlotte Hornets at the Utah Jazz; Atlanta Hawks at the Sacramento Kings; Los Angeles Lakers at the Golden State Warriors.

March 17, 2015

Prince Charles and Camilla embark on a four-day visit to the United States. They will spent three days in Washington D.C., while visiting Mount Vernon and the National Archives to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

St. Patrick's Day , marked with annual parades in Ireland and cities across the globe.

The first games kick off in NCAA March Madness.

New York City’s annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, which will for the first time allow LGBT groups to march in the annual celebration.

Today marks the first anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin signing the decree on Crimea as sanctions imposed on Russia.

One of the longest running St. Patrick’s Day Events in New England - the Annual Wild Irish Breakfast. Speakers include possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and possibly 2016 Republican presidential candidates, former New York Governor George Pataki and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan.

NHL games: Buffalo Sabres at the Boston Bruins; Pittsburgh Penguins at the New Jersey Devils; Ottawa Senators at the Carolina Hurricanes; Montreal Canadiens at the Florida Panthers; Minnesota Wild at the Nashville Predators; San Jose Sharks at the Winnipeg Jets; New York Islanders at the Chicago Blackhawks; St. Louis Blues at the Calgary Flames; Philadelphia Flyers at the Vancouver Canuck.

NBA games: San Antonio Spurs at the New York Knicks; Memphis Grizzlies at the Detroit Pistons; Milwaukee Bucks at the New Orleans Pelicans; Orlando Magic at the Houston Rockets; Charlotte Hornets at the Los Angeles Clippers.

March 18, 2015

The markets eagerly await the Federal Open Market Committee decision’s on interest rates, following a two-day meeting.

The Special Olympics organization hosts its annual Capitol Hill Day, with U.S. Program CEOs, staff, and athletes meeting with their House and Senate representatives

NHL games: Chicago Blackhawks at the New York Rangers; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Edmonton Oilers; Los Angeles Kings at the Anaheim Ducks.

NBA games: Detroit Pistons at the Philadelphia 76ers; Brooklyn Nets at the Cleveland Cavaliers; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toronto Raptors; Portland Trail Blazers at the Miami Heat; Boston Celtics at the Oklahoma City Thunder; San Antonio Spurs at the Milwaukee Bucks; Indiana Pacers at the Chicago Bulls; Orlando Magic at the Dallas Mavericks; Los Angeles Clippers at the Sacramento Kings; Washington Wizards at the Utah Jazz; Atlanta Hawks at the Golden State Warriors.

March 19, 2015

The second games are held in the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament.

Today marks the 12th anniversary of Iraq War .

Will April showers lead to May flowers? The NOAA National Weather Service announces U.S. Spring Outlook/Flood Assessment via media teleconference today.

NHL games: San Jose Sharks at the Toronto Maple Leafs; Carolina Hurricanes at the Montreal Canadiens; Boston Bruins at the Ottawa Senators; Detroit Red Wings at the Florida Panthers; Washington Capitals at the Minnesota Wild; St. Louis Blues at the Winnipeg Jets; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Dallas Stars; Philadelphia Flyers at the Calgary Flames; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Vancouver Canucks; Colorado Avalanche at the Arizona Coyotes.

NBA games: Minnesota Timberwolves at the New York Knicks; Denver Nuggets at the Houston Rockets; New Orleans Pelicans at the Phoenix Suns; Utah Jazz at the Los Angeles Lakers.

March 20, 2015

The National Cherry Blossom Festival gets underway in the nation’s capital. The festival marks a celebration of the original gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo, Japan, to the people of Washington, DC, in 1912.

Possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, headlines the Republican National Committee Spring Retreat.

Winter is finally over as the Spring Equinox arrives.

Today marks National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

NHL games: New Jersey Devils at the Buffalo Sabres; Detroit Red Wings at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Colorado Avalanche at the Anaheim Ducks.

NBA games: New York Knicks at the Philadelphia 76ers; Portland Trail Blazers at the Orlando Magic; Denver Nuggets at the Miami Heat; Indiana Pacers at the Cleveland Cavaliers; Milwaukee Bucks at the Brooklyn Nets; Atlanta Hawks at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Toronto Raptors at the Chicago Bulls; Boston Celtics at the San Antonio Spurs; Memphis Grizzlies at the Dallas Mavericks; Charlotte Hornets at the Sacramento Kings; Washington Wizards at the Los Angeles Clippers; New Orleans Pelicans at the Golden State Warriors.

March 21, 2015

The 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards are held today.

The third ground of games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness.

The ninth anniversary of the creation of Twitter.

The fifth anniversary of the House of Representatives passing the health care reform bill by 219 votes to 212, with no Republican backing.

World Down Syndrome Day, which includes the World Down Syndrome Day Conference and the announcement of the World Down Syndrome Day Awards

NHL games: St. Louis Blues at the Minnesota Wild; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Calgary Flames; Vancouver Canucks at the Los Angeles Kings; San Jose Sharks at the Montreal Canadiens; Toronto Maple Leafs at the Ottawa Senators; Boston Bruins at the Florida Panthers; New York Islanders at the New Jersey Devils; New York Rangers at the Carolina Hurricanes; Washington Capitals at the Winnipeg Jets; Buffalo Sabres at the Nashville Predators; Chicago Blackhawks at the Dallas Stars; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Arizona Coyotes; Philadelphia Flyers at the Edmonton Oilers.

NBA games: Brooklyn Nets at the Indiana Pacers; Chicago Bulls at the Detroit Pistons; Portland Trail Blazers at the Memphis Grizzlies; Phoenix Suns at the Houston Rockets; Utah Jazz at the Golden State Warriors.

March 22, 2015

The National Football League hosts its annual meeting.

South by Southwest Festival concludes in Austin, Texas.

NHL games: St. Louis Blues at the Detroit Red Wings; Boston Bruins at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Anaheim Ducks at the New York Rangers; Vancouver Canucks at the Arizona Coyotes.

NBA games: San Antonio Spurs at the Atlanta Hawks; Miami Heat at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Milwaukee Bucks; New Orleans Pelicans at the Los Angeles Clippers; New York Knicks at the Toronto Raptors; Denver Nuggets at the Orlando Magic; Detroit Pistons at the Boston Celtics; Washington Wizards at the Sacramento Kings; Charlotte Hornets at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Dallas Mavericks at the Phoenix Suns; Philadelphia 76ers at the Los Angeles Lakers.

March 23, 2015

Today marks the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.

NHL games: Los Angeles Kings at the New Jersey Devils; Chicago Blackhawks at the Carolina Hurricanes; Minnesota Wild at the Toronto Maple Leafs; San Jose Sharks at the Ottawa Senators; Buffalo Sabres at the Dallas Stars; Colorado Avalanche at the Calgary Flames; Winnipeg Jets at the Edmonton Oilers.

NBA games: Houston Rockets at the Indiana Pacers; Memphis Grizzlies at the New York Knicks; Boston Celtics at the Brooklyn Nets; Charlotte Hornets at the Chicago Bulls; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Utah Jazz; Washington Wizards at the Golden State Warriors.

March 24, 2015

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is the keynote speaker at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner.

Today marks American Diabetes Alert Day, which encourages people  to get checked for diabetes.

NHL games: Minnesota Wild at the New York Islanders; Los Angeles Kings at the New York Rangers; St. Louis Blues at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Anaheim Ducks at the Columbus Blue Jackets; Arizona Coyotes at the Detroit Red Wings; Florida Panthers at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Montreal Canadiens at the Nashville Predators; Winnipeg Jets at the Vancouver Canucks.

NBA games: Toronto Raptors at the Detroit Pistons; Los Angeles Lakers at the Oklahoma City Thunder; Miami Heat at the Milwaukee Bucks; San Antonio Spurs at the Dallas Mavericks; Philadelphia 76ers at the Sacramento Kings; Golden State Warriors at the Portland Trail Blazers.

March 25, 2015

How do your leaders rank? Fortune Magazine releases its annual World’s 50 Greatest Leader list today, which includes leaders across business, government, sports, and non-profits.

The annual list of county health rankings is released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Health Institute.

NHL games: Chicago Blackhawks at the Philadelphia Flyers; Colorado Avalanche at the Edmonton Oilers; Dallas Stars at the Calgary Flames.

NBA games: Indiana Pacers at the Washington Wizards; Atlanta Hawks at the Orlando Magic; Los Angeles Clippers at the New York Knicks; Brooklyn Nets at the Charlotte Hornets; Chicago Bulls at the Toronto Raptors; Miami Heat at the Boston Celtics; Houston Rockets at the New Orleans Pelicans; Los Angeles Lakers at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Memphis Grizzlies; Portland Trail Blazers at the Utah Jazz; Philadelphia 76ers at the Denver Nuggets; Oklahoma City Thunder at the San Antonio Spurs; Sacramento Kings at the Phoenix Suns.

March 26, 2015

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, March Madness,  holds its “Sweet Sixteen” round games in the West and Midwest regions.

Congress goes on break for the Easter State Work Period.

Sandra Day O’Connor turns 85 years old. O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the court.

Minority Leader of the U.S House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi turns 75.

NHL games: Anaheim Ducks at the Boston Bruins; Arizona Coyotes at the Buffalo Sabres; Los Angeles Kings at the New York Islanders; New Jersey Devils at the Washington Capitals; Pittsburgh Penguins at the Carolina Hurricanes; Florida Panthers at the Toronto Maple Leafs; New York Rangers at the Ottawa Senators; San Jose Sharks at the Detroit Red Wings; Nashville Predators at the Tampa Bay Lightning; Montreal Canadiens at the Winnipeg Jets; Colorado Avalanche at the Vancouver Canucks.

NBA games: Indiana Pacers at the Milwaukee Bucks.

March 27, 2015

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes its final GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2014, showing the state of the country’s economic activity.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko launch to the International Space Station today aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a yearlong expedition, which aims to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, March Madness, hosts its “Sweet Sixteen” round games in the South and East regions.

Ultra Music Festival gets underway in Miami.

NHL games: Calgary Flames at the Minnesota Wild; Columbus Blue Jackets at the Chicago Blackhawks; Dallas Stars at the Edmonton Oilers.

NBA games: Charlotte Hornets at the Washington Wizards; Los Angeles Clippers at the Philadelphia 76ers; Detroit Pistons at the Orlando Magic; Los Angeles Lakers at the Toronto Raptors; Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks; Cleveland Cavaliers at the Brooklyn Nets; Miami Heat at the Atlanta Hawks; Sacramento Kings at the New Orleans Pelicans; Golden State Warriors at the Memphis Grizzlies; Minnesota Timberwolves at the Houston Rockets; Dallas Mavericks at the San Antonio Spurs; Utah Jazz at the Denver Nuggets; Portland Trail Blazers at the Phoenix Suns.

March 28, 2015

The 28th annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards are held, hosted by Nick Jonas.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour which encourages people to turn out their lights for an out at 8:30 p.m. to draw attention to climate change.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, March Madness, moves into the “Elite Eight” round with games in the Midwest and West regions.

The Class of 2015 induction ceremony at the WWE Hall of Fame.

Nigeria is expected to hold its Presidential and National Assembly elections today, after they were postponed from Feb. 14 due to security fears with the militant group Boko Haram.

NHL games: Nashville Predators at the Washington Capitals; New York Rangers at the Boston Bruins; Anaheim Ducks at the New York Islanders; San Jose Sharks at the Philadelphia Flyers; Arizona Coyotes at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Tampa Bay Lightning at the Detroit Red Wings; Ottawa Senators at the Toronto Maple Leafs; Florida Panthers at the Montreal Canadiens; New Jersey Devils at the Carolina Hurricanes; Columbus Blue Jackets at the St. Louis Blues; Los Angeles Kings at the Minnesota Wild; Buffalo Sabres at the Colorado Avalanche; Dallas Stars at the Vancouver Canucks.

NBA games: Atlanta Hawks at the Charlotte Hornets; New York Knicks at the Chicago Bulls; Golden State Warriors at the Milwaukee Bucks; Oklahoma City Thunder at the Utah Jazz; Denver Nuggets at the Portland Trail Blazers.

March 29, 2015

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, March Madness, moves into the “Elite Elight” round with games in the South and East regions.

Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week. Pope Francis will preside over services at the Vatican.

WrestleMania 31 takes place today at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

NHL games: Washington Capitals at the New York Rangers; Florida Panthers at the Ottawa Senators; Detroit Red Wings at the New York Islanders; Boston Bruins at the Carolina Hurricanes; Calgary Flames at the Nashville Predators; Anaheim Ducks at the New Jersey Devils; San Jose Sharks at the Pittsburgh Penguins; Chicago Blackhawks at the Winnipeg Jets.

NBA games: Philadelphia 76ers at the Cleveland Cavaliers; Los Angeles Lakers at the Brooklyn Nets; Minnesota Timberwolves at the New Orleans Pelicans; Houston Rockets at the Washington Wizards; Detroit Pistons at the Miami Heat; Los Angeles Clippers at the Boston Celtics; Dallas Mavericks at the Indiana Pacers; Memphis Grizzlies at the San Antonio Spurs; Oklahoma City Thunder at the Phoenix Suns.

March 30, 2015

The 'Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber' airs today on Comedy Central.

NHL games: Tampa Bay Lightning at the Montreal Canadiens; Vancouver Canucks at the St. Louis Blues; Los Angeles Kings at the Chicago Blackhawks; Calgary Flames at the Dallas Stars; Edmonton Oilers at the Colorado Avalanche; Buffalo Sabres at the Arizona Coyotes

NBA games: Los Angeles Lakers at the Philadelphia 76ers; Boston Celtics at the Charlotte Hornets; Houston Rockets at the Toronto Raptors; Milwaukee Bucks at the Atlanta Hawks; Utah Jazz at the Minnesota Timberwolves; Sacramento Kings at the Memphis Grizzlies; Phoenix Suns at the Portland Trail Blazers.

March 31, 2015

Today marks ten years since Terri Schiavo died in Tampa, Florida, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed by court order.

Cesar Chavez Day.

Today marks the deadline for Iran and the P5+1 counties to reach a general political agreement on the Iran’s nuclear program.

The 20th anniversary of Selena Quintanilla-Perez, best known as 'Selena', murdered at the age of 23 by Yolanda Saldívar, the founder and president of her fan club.

NHL games: Florida Panthers at the Boston Bruins; Carolina Hurricanes at the Washington Capitals; New Jersey Devils at the Columbus Blue Jackets; Tampa Bay Lightning at the Toronto Maple Leafs; Ottawa Senators at the Detroit Red Wings; Vancouver Canucks at the Nashville Predators; New York Rangers at the Winnipeg Jets.

NBA games: Atlanta Hawks at the Detroit Pistons; Indiana Pacers at the Brooklyn Nets; San Antonio Spurs at the Miami Heat; Golden State Warriors at the Los Angeles Clippers.








Obama Insults Christianity-Jane Ruster Comments
President Obama Compares Christians Directly to ISIS  See WIOS Forum for Details
Comments in Today's "Viewpoints".  See WIOS Forum for Details


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