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Michigan State News              Updated 07/02/15


The state Senate has pushed forward a $1.5 billion plan to fund Michigan's roads. The Senate passed plan would increase the gas tax by 15-cents over three years, redirect $700 million General Fund money to roads, and rollback the income tax based on growth in the state's economy. Republican Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who cast deciding votes on the plan's fuel tax bills, says it's a positive step forward to getting our roads fixed. But Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Jim Ananich (AN-uh-NIK), says it's not the right solution. He says the plan puts paying for roads on the backs of hard working families. The upper-chamber did not vote on a bill that would have eliminated the earned income tax credit for the working poor.

Now that both the Michigan House and Senate have approved different, what happens next? The Michigan House is due back in Lansing on July 14th and could take up the bills the Senate approved then. That all depends on if lawmakers are on board with what’s in the bills the Senate passed, according to a spokesperson for the House Republicans. The Senate will be in the next day, July 15th, presumably to be ready to take up any changes the House may make to the bills before passing them.

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(MI Poll-Same Sex Ruling)
A new statewide poll shows a strong majority of voters approved of the Supreme Court decision which effectively legalized same sex marriage nationwide. The split was 56 percent in favor and 39 percent opposed. Democrats favored it by a 78-to-18 margin and Independents favored it it 56-to-35. Republicans opposed the ruling by a 64-to-34 margin. Catholics favored it by 60-to-37 and Protestants opposed it 50-to-44. The survey was conducted by Lansing-based EPIC M-R-A. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

(MI Poll: LGBT Rights)
A statewide poll says 68-percent of Michiganders support including sexual orientation in the state's civil rights law protections. Twenty-five percent are opposed to such a move. Seventy-six percent of Democrats and 60-percent of Republicans support the idea. In the meantime, just over 50 percent oppose allowing adoption agencies to receive state money if they refuse potential parents on religious grounds. Thirty-four percent say they should still get the state support. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling.

(Capitol-Gun Locks Bills)
Legislation to exempt firearm safety devices from state use and sales taxes is headed to the state Senate.
The bills are aimed at getting more gun owners to uses devices such as gun locks, lock boxes, trigger and barrel locks.
The Michigan Department of Treasury opposes the change, saying it would save consumers only about 72-cents on an $11 gun lock, not enough to prompt behavior change.

Ford Motor Company is recalling 433-thousand vehicles in North America.
The Dearborn-based automaker says the engine could continue to run in the affected vehicles even if the ignition key is in the "off" position, removed or after the engine start/stop button is pressed.
The recall involves 2015 Focus and C-MAX vehicles built at the Michigan Assembly Plant and 2015 Escape vehicles built at the Louisville Assembly Plant over the past year.
It also includes 52-thousand in Canada and just over five-thousand in Mexico. Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

A measure creating a 529 savings plan for the disabled awaits a vote in the full Michigan Senate.
The legislation passed a committee earlier this week.
Chris Rodriguez with the National Disability Institute says Michigan’s proposed ABLE Act may be the best in the country.
Parents or guardians could put money into the account for a child to pull from later in life to cover medical expenses. The legislation has already passed the Michigan House.

(Escanaba Man Sentenced for Murder)
An Escanaba man has been sentenced to life without parole in Delta County Circuit Court for the murder of his estranged wife. Thirty-seven-year-old Kallay Batchelor was convicted May 20 of stabbing Heather Batchelor at her home in Escanaba on Sept. 3. Court testimony showed that Heather was trying to move on with her life and attempting to separate from her husband. She was found in her bedroom with stab wounds and a knife blade in her throat on September by her 5-year-old daughter. Sentencing was Wednesday.
(WYKX/WDBC, Escanaba)

The west-bound span of the Blue Water Bridge will reopen to traffic next week. It's been closed since March with traffic narrowed to just one lane on the east-bound span. All lanes will reopen Wednesday. The Blue Water Bridge connects the United States with Canada at Port Huron.
(WPHM, Port Huron)

(Capitol-Juneteenth Resolution)
State lawmakers from each side the aisle disagree about commemorating a day to recognize the abolishment of slavery in the U.S. The resolution to commemorate June 19th as Juneteenth is on hold in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its sponsor, Senate Democrat Bert Johnson says the committee chair, Senate Republican Rick Jones, who is white, wants to rewrite its language. Johnson, who is black, says it’s a case of practicing white privilege. Jones later apologized to Johnson on the Senate floor saying he wants to shake hands and move on.



(US Supreme Court-MI Redistricting)
A push for a ballot initiative to set up a non-partisan commission to redraw legislative district maps every ten years is in the works in Michigan.
It comes on the heels of a U-S Supreme Court ruling saying it’s okay for a state to have such a commission.
State Senator Steve Bieda, a Warren Democrat, says the ballot initiative talk is in the early stages.
He is also moving ahead with legislation to set up a commission to handle redistricting. Bieda expects to introduce the measure in a few weeks.

(Auto Sales Rise)
Sales for some US automakers were up in June. Ford sales rose about two percent last month. Fiat Chrysler automobile sales increased eight percent compared to one year ago. And General Motors sales declined by three percent. Analysts say sales numbers for the month were universally below expectations.
Forecasters did say however that all automakers sold between 1.1 and 1.5 million vehicles during the month, the best June showing in ten years, as Nissan sales increased 13-point-three percent and Honda sales increased four-pont-two percent.

(SE MI Flooding)
The River Raisin is beginning a gradual descent from flood stage in Monroe County, although its descent has been slowed by new rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.
Rain showers that moved through Tuesday continued the river's crest, but forecasters do not believe it will add to the water level. The River Raisin was one-foot over flood conditions in Dundee Tuesday night and at flood level in Monroe.
The Village of Dundee is providing sandbags to protect property and sand and bags are available at Monroe's department of public services.
(Help from: 24/7 News Source)

(Grand Rapids-Airport Goes Regional
Kent County has been given permission to go ahead on creating a regional airport authority, following the governor's signing of legislation Tuesday.
Airport officials say the new law transfers operations from the county to the new authority. The move, they say, clears the way for he region to attract more talent and tourism.

(Capitol-Senate Roads Plan)
The Michigan Senate could vote on road funding plan today (Wednesday). The proposal includes a gradual increase of the gas tax by 15-cents, $700 million in redirected General Fund money, elimination of the earned income tax credit for the working poor and an income tax cut.
Senate Majority Leader, Republican Arlan Meekhof says the plan is a great way to look at constraining government while finding a way to fund the roads. But Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Jim Ananich (anna-nick) says his caucus doesn't want a solution that balances a road funding fix on the backs of taxpayers.

(New Corrections Director)
Michigan gets a new corrections director today (Wed). She's Heidi Washington, and she takes over for Dan Heyns who is stepping down. Washington most recently was the head of the Charles Egeler Reception and guidance Center in Jackson, where new inmates are sent. She has also named Bellamy Creek Warden Ken McKee as deputy director for correctional facilities administration.

(New MI Superintendent)
Farewell to Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. He officialy retired Tuesday. His replacement is Brian Whiston who was selected by the State Board of Education earlier this year. Whiston formerly headed the Dearborn Public School District. He starts his new job today (Wed).

(Capitol-Expand Civil Rights)
A state lawmaker want's the legislature to act on expanding the state's civil rights law to protect gay and transgendered people. State Senator Curtis Hertel says most people support equal rights and it's the lawmakers' duty to legislate as a reflection of those they represent. Hertel's comments follow the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Legislation dubbed by opponents as the “Death Star” bill, which would block local governments from setting their own wage, benefits or leave requirements on local employers, has been signed into law by the governor. The bill would not affect ordinances already in place. Democrats opposed the measure, saying local governments should be able to set their own policies.

An environmental watchdog group is worried about an Upper Peninsula iron mine and the effect it is having on local water sources. “Save the Wild U.P” is concerned about the long term effects of mining at the Eagle Mine in Marquette County on surface water, drinking water and water sheds. The group wants the Department of Environmental Quality to get a permit for the protection of surface water, which would put more stringent rules in place for the mine to follow.

A new rule change in Washington could allow up to 100-thousand more workers in Michigan to claim overtime pay. The change, announced by the Obama administration on Tuesday, will allow certain salaried workers who make up to about $50,000 per year, to claim overtime. Currently the threshold limit is set at just over $23,000. The proposed rule still has to go through a public comment period. Some business groups say the threshold increase is excessive.



(Capitol-Gas Tax) (Watch for Updates)
A Michigan Senate committee could vote as soon as this (Tuesday) afternoon on a road funding package pieced together by the Republican-controlled chamber which includes a gas tax increase and an income tax cut.
A committee chaired by Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is due to meet at 4:00 p.m. Multiple reports say the plan increases the gas tax by 5 cents per year for 3 years, redirects $700M in other spending to roads and cuts the income tax.
House Republicans passed their own road funding plan a few weeks ago.

Michigan’s big utilities say a ruling by the U-S Supreme Court Monday on mercury emissions should serve as a reminder to lawmakers to get busy on passing a new energy policy in the state.
Combined, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy will be shutting down nine coal-fired power plants by next spring. A spokesman for Consumers says that should signal a sense of urgency for lawmakers.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter tells the Michigan Radio Network his caucus will be working on the issue over the summer with the hopes of having a bill to vote on by the fall.

(Michigan Flooding)
The heavy rain from this past weekend is resulting in flooding and rising river levels in parts of Michigan. That includes along the River Raisin in southeastern Michigan. Monroenews.com reports that river at Dundee is rising at a quick rate and is reaching flood stage. Parts of some roadways are closed as is at least one bridge along M-50.

(The District Detroit Promoted)
The Detroit Red Wings and Tigers owners are stepping up their promotion of what they call "The District Detroit" as they have unveiled a scale model of the 45 block area that will include the new home of the Red wings.
Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson says the development in its early stages is already getting a lot of attention.
The centerpiece is a hockey arena off Woodward Avenue that will be open in 2017, along with housing in the historic Eddystone hotel, a luxury hotel, and new Little Caesars headquarters.
Plans are for 12 blocks of retail and residential buildings west and north of the rink. Olympia expects developing the entire 385 acres between downtown and Midtown to take between ten and 15 years.

(Capitol-Smurfing Bill)
Another move is underway to crack down on "smurfing," an illegal practice where several people conspire to buy large amounts of Pseudoephedrine, used in the making of methamphetamine.
Currently it's a 10-year felony, but has been difficult to prove in court. State House Democrat John Kivela of Marquette allowing only a misdemeanor charge makes it easier to get "smurfers" names on record.
When a "smurfer" is on record, they're prohibited from buying Pseudoephedrine. Kivela says the misdemeanor charge would also help those that may have made one big mistake to avoid having a felony conviction follow them for the rest of their lives.
The legislation has been introduced in Lansing.

Three peregrine falcon’s recently hatching in a nest atop the Houghton-Hancock Bridge in the Upper Peninsula bodes well for the future of the bird.
The falcon' s were once an endangered species in the U-S, and still are in Michigan, according to Brian Roell (roll) a state wildlife biologist in Marquette.
He says it may take a few years for the falcon to get off the state’s list but it’s getting there. Earlier this month four peregrine falcon chicks hatched in a nest atop a bridge in Sault Ste. Marie (Soo Saint Marie).

(MI-Voter Registration)
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says you have until next Monday, July 6, to register to vote in the August 4 local elections.
To register, you must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be a U.S. citizen. Applicants also must be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.
Voters can register by mail or in person at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available online at michigan.gov/elections.
First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

(Wayne Co-Hit Run Fatal Charges)
A Romulus woman has been arraigned on amended charges including second degree murder after a young boy died of his injuries suffered in a hit and run accident earlier this month.
Investigators say 39-year-old Kimberly Garrett was on illegal narcotics when she hit Kayale Fruge, who was riding his bike near his home on June 20. He died four days later after he was taken off of life support by his family.
Garrett fled the scene, but was arrested after a citizen followed her to a home in Romulus. She's being held without bond pending a preliminary exam on July 9th.

(MI-Bomb Threats-England)
A teenager on another continent is behind bars after bomb threats targeted at west Michigan.
Police say the suspect, who's known online as Ransom, was arrested at his home in England last week. The 16-year-old is accused in threats against schools in Allendale, Coopersville and Hudsonville.
Western Michigan University and Michigan State University also got threats between September of last year and April of this year.

(Kalamazoo Co-Jealousy Murder)
A 43-year old woman is facing murder charges in the death of a Kalamazoo County woman who was dating her former boyfriend.
Theresa Petto of Hastings was arraigned Monday on multiple charges including open murder and felony murder.
She's accused of shooting 25-year-old Rachael Drafta of Portage last Wednesday. Drafta died on Saturday at a Kalamazoo hospital.
Petto was initially charged Thursday with assault with intent to commit murder and felony firearm use. She is being held in the Kalamazoo County jail on a $1 million bond.

(Wayne Co-Nonprofit Embezzlement)
The chief operating officer of a Detroit non profit and the principal of one of the schools it served are accused of teaming up to embezzle more than $100,000 from the organization.
Cecilia Zavala, COO of Esperanza Detroit, and 35-year old Rudolfo Diaz, principal of Western International High School in Detroit, are expected to be arraigned this morning (Tuesday) on multiple embezzlement charges.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says the pair embezzled the money between November 2011 and May 2014. The 35-year old Zavala is accused of using the money to pay for restaurants, personal vacations at expensive hotels, jewelry and a car.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, Diaz received checks totaling more than $10,000 written on the Esperanza account for consulting services that he never performed.



The U-S Supreme Court ruled today (Monday) the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken cost into account when it issued new mercury emission rules for utility companies.
The new rules took effect in April, which means utilities have already been making changes to gear up for the new emissions standards.
Both DTE and Consumers Energy are still expected to shut down nine total coal-fired power plants next year.
The EPA, meanwhile, is going to review the rule and rewrite it.

(Mother Pleads Guilty)
A Detroit woman has pleaded guilty to killing two of her children whose bodies were found in a deep freezer at their home.
Mitchelle Blair faces life in prison without parole for the guilty plea on charges of felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, torture and first-degree child abuse in Wayne County Circuit Court.
The 36-year old Blair had tried to plead guilty last week but Judge Dana Hathaway refused to allow it until she reviewed Blair's competency report.
Authorities were called to the Martin Luther King, Jr. apartment complex on March 24 as part of a court-ordered eviction. That’s when the bodies of 9-year old Stoni Blair and 13-year old Stephen Berry were discovered wrapped in plastic in a stand-alone freezer.
Police say Blair's other children, an 8-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl, were also abused. They are now in protective custody.

(MI-Religious Rights Protection)
A state lawmaker, disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, says the next step is making sure religious freedom is protected.
Representative Gary Glenn, who helped write Michigan's now voided ban on gay marriage, says there will be legislation coming to protect the right of pastors who cite religious beliefs for refusing to preside over same-sex marriages. He says there could also be a bill which would afford the same right to elected officials authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.
The U.S. Supreme court on Friday legalized gay marriage nationwide.

(MI/DC-GM Ignition Fund Claims)
There have been two more death claims approved by the General Motors ignition compensation fund.
The latest additions bring the total number of deaths attributed to the faulty switch to 119.
The fund also approved six more injury claims in the past week. There have been 243 injury claims approved, 14 of them for serious injuries, so far. Fund officials say they still have about 81 claims to review before their process is complete.
GM has set aside 550-million dollars to pay claims.

(MI-Power Outages)
DTE Energy crews are working to restore power to approximately 19-thousand customers who lost service over the weekend.
The majority of the outages are reported in Wayne County where around 15-thousand homes and businesses are without power. Another three-thousand customers in Oakland County are off the grid.
Company officials say around 200 linemen have been called into assist crews in getting the power restored. Most service is expected to on by late tonight although some customers won't have power until Tuesday.
Jackson-based Consumers Energy says about 4,000 of its customers were affected and almost all were back online by early Sunday.

(Marquete-Waiver Requirement Changed)
Native American students attending Northern Michigan University will no longer need to be enrolled in a degree-granting program to receive the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver. NMU President Fritz Erickson announced the change during a meeting with members of the Hannahville Indian Community.
He said it is meant to assist Native students who want to take one or more courses, but have not officially selected an academic program or may not need to complete a full degree.
There were 222 Native American students enrolled full or part time at NMU during the 2014-15 academic year. Of those, 121 qualified for the waiver, which NMU funded at $765,000.
(Craig Woerpel, WYKX/WDBC Escanaba)

(Saginaw-School Superintendent Retires)
The Saginaw School Board has a special meeting late this afternoon (Monday) to launch a search for a new superintendent of schools.
Interim superintendent Kelley Peatross announced this weekend that she will be stepping down effective July 17. In a retirement letter sent to the school board, Peatross cited several, non monetary, disagreements with the board dealing with her contract as superintendent.
She also criticized the unnecessary antics by several individuals that's stalling progress on the Saginaw district resolving budget issues and developing a plan to provide students with a good education.
Peatross had previously retired after being an assistant superintendent under Carleton Jenkins. She came back to the Saginaw district after Jenkins left for a position with the Atlanta, Georgia, schools.
(WSGW, Saginaw)

(Detroit-Bob-lo Boat Saved)
So long Bob-lo boat. The SS Columbia, one of two Bob-lo boats which carried Detroiters and others to the Bob-lo amusement park during the last century, has been repaired and is in a Toledo shipyard.
It's being restored by a New York group, the nonprofit Columbia Project, which recently stepped in to save the vessel.
In August it will head for Buffalo, New York. The Columbia Project would eventually like to put it back into service in the Hudson River Valley, according to reports.
The Columbia was built in 1902.

(MI-First Meijer Store)
The original Meijer Thrifty Acres store at 28th and Kalamazoo in Grand Rapids will get official recognition from the state historical society.
A historical marker has been erected in front of the store along 28th street. The store first opened in 1962.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids)




McDonald’s hosts their annual 365Black Awards to celebrate success, culture and service in the African American community.
The weigh-in ceremony for the Nathan’s Annual Fourth of July International hot Dog Eating Contest.

On this day in 1985,  Back to the Future premiered.  It went on to gross over $381 Million worldwide and made a superstar out of a then 24-year old Michael J. Fox.
The four surviving original members of the Grateful Dead gather together for a performance commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the band. The show will take place at Chicago’s Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day since the group played their “final” show (July 9, 1995).

Independence Day, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776, thereby confirming the 13 Colonies’ independence from Great Britain. Events today include a Capitol Fourth 4th of July concert at the U.S. Capitol and Macy’s 39th annual 4th of July Fireworks show in New York.

Nathan's Annual Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place at New York's famed Coney Island boardwalk today. Contestants compete to eat as many hot dogs and buns as possible in 10 minutes. Reigning champ Joey Chestnut is aiming for his ninth consecutive win.


The annual Formula 1 British Grand Prix horse race is held today.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) free concert series Summer garden: New Music for New York starts.

The South Carolina legislature will be back in session today, and is expected to take up the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House.

Congress returns from the Independence Day recess today, with no votes in the House of Representatives

ESPN The Magazine releases details for upcoming, 7th annual The Body Issue before the issue hits stands on Friday.

14th Dalai Lama celebrates his 80th Birthday. The 14th Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Dondrub and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his work in Tibet.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London, when four suicide bombers detonated bombs on three subways and a double-decker bus.

The Running of the Bulls begins today in Pamplona, Spain, as part of the Annual Festival of San Fermin. Spectators aim to keep up with free-running bulls on designated streets.

The CONCAF Gold cup soccer tournament starts. Games are played in the U.S. with two in Canada. Opening matches are U.S. vs. Honduras and Panama vs. Haiti.

The Federal Open Market Committee publishes the group’s meeting minutes today, with a summary of quarterly economic projections from the Federal Reserve Board members and Reserve Banks presidents.

Jurors will be selected today for the Uzbekistan national Fazliddin Kurbanov trial, which starts on July 13. Kurbanov was arrested after an investigation that alleged that conspired to support and provide resources for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and he may have had an explosive device with the intention of creating a bomb.

The United Nations Security Council’s mandate for Iran sanctions concerning Tehran’s nuclear program is due for renewal today, unless it is further extended.

The first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in collaboration with UNITY, which provides Alaska Native and American Indian youth nationwide the chance to speak directly with White House administrators about important cultural issues. This event serves President Barack Obama’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative and his dedication to improve the lives of Native youth in the U.S.

The annual Comic-Con International Show in San Diego opens to the public. It’s the largest exhibition that features the latest in the comic books industry, including comic book-inspired shows and movies.

One Direction starts their North American stadium tour today, supporting their new album “Four.”

U.S. Women’s Open Championship starts in Lancaster, PA, featuring the largest prize in women’s golf at $4 million.

The United Nations hosts its Ebola recovery conference to discuss future plans of action and financial arrangements in light of the current Ebola outbreak. The world’s worst epidemic of all time started in December 2013 and was detected in march 2014. It has since then killed more than 10,000 people.

The 7th annual ESPN Magazine’s The Body issue is released.

The music industry will establish Friday Global Release Day today, where artists internationally will release their work on Fridays at 12:01 AM local time. This change is expected to decrease piracy and increase artist control.

The 24th annual Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Induction Gala will take place today.


July 11, 2015

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships final takes place today for women. The Champions Dinner occurs afterward, featuring current and former winners.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Annual Convention takes place in Philadelphia.

The 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre is marked today, where the Bosnian Serb forces mass murdered about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995. This was the largest genocide since the Holocaust in World War II.

The 30th Anniversary of Coca-Cola returning to its original formula drink in response to protests against the formula change to “New Coke.” The formula is now called Coca-Cola Classic, and the event is known as “the biggest risk in consumer goods history.”

July 12, 2015

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships final takes place today for men. The Champions Dinner occurs afterward, featuring current and former winners.

The 64th annual Miss USA pageant will air live on NBC. Contestants compete in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories for the chance to represent the USA in the Miss Universe Pageant. Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez holds the crown for the previous year.

The “Manhattanhenge” takes place today, when the sun set is perfectly aligned with the Manhattan street grid, takes place. It was named by the Museum of Natural History’s Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The 2015 MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game takes place today as part of the league’s All-Star week. The game will feature baseball legends like Paul O’Neill, Eric Davis and Aaron Boone, and celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Nick Lachey and Macklemore.

July 13, 2015

The trial of Uzbekistan national Fazliddin Kurbanov begins. Kurbanov was arrested after an investigation that alleged that conspired to support and provide resources for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and he may have had an explosive device with the intention of creating a bomb.

President Obama hosts the annual White House Conference on Aging to discuss important issues affecting aging Americans, such as healthcare and Social Security (which marks its 80th Anniversary this year).

Barnes & Noble hosts “To Kill a Mockingbird” Read-A-Thon events at all locations throughout the U.S. This event is in honor of the sequel to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” called “Go Set a Watchman.”

July 14, 2015

“Go Set a Watchman,” the sequel to Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird’ is published and released. The manuscript for the sequel was thought to be lost until it was uncovered in 2014 by Lee’s lawyer.

Today is Bastille Day, the historic day in 1789 that marked the start of the French Revolution by way of the invasion of the Bastille prison in Paris.

NASA Spacecraft New Horizons makes its closest approach to Pluto today after a near nine-year, three billion-mile trip. The shift included several advanced technological parts and camera equipment. The craft traveled the furthest distance of any space mission to reach its primary target.

MLB All-Star Game is held in Cincinnati. The winner decides who gets home field advantage in the World Series.

July 15, 2015

The 2015 ESPYS (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards is held, presented by Capital Onewill and hosted by Joel McHale. Broadcast live on ABC.

Forbes publishes the 2015 version of the annual list of top 50 most valuable sports teams worldwide. Last year’s list was led by football clubs Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, with the baseball team New York Yankees at fourth place.  

FAO Schwarz, the iconic New York City toy store, closes today.

This is the 9th anniversary of the launch of Twitter to the public. The social media site started in March 2009 when co-founders Jack Dorsey (@jack), @ev and @biz created their first accounts and posted their first tweets. The website was spelled “Twttr” until September 2006, when the vowels were added in.

July 16, 2015

The 144th Golf British Open Championship starts in St. Andrews. The defending champion is Rory McIlroy after his 2014 victory at Royal Liverpool. Returning for his final Open Championship is eight-time champion Tom Watson, six years after his loss to Stewart Cink at the Turnberry play-off. Watson was won five titles in this tournament.

Nickelodeon annual Kids’ Choice Sports award show hosted by Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson live on Nickelodeon. The show honors sports stars, including former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, who will receive the Legend Award.

The Future Space Leaders Foundation hosts its annual event on Capitol Hill, Future Space 2015. The event discusses important issues about space and aims to raise grant money for educational platforms and networking opportunities for graduate students and young professionals.

The PRISM Awards are held in Los Angeles, honoring those who accurately depicted drug, tobacco and alcohol use and mental health issues in media.

The annual BlogHer conference for female bloggers takes place in New York City. The keynote close-out speaker is Ava DuVernay, the renowned director of the film “Selma.”

July 17, 2015

It’s the one-year anniversary of the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in a pro-Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine. The incident involving MH17 occurred in the midst of a conflict between the two countries after the ousting of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych in early 2014. This sparked more turmoil that caused the EU and U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia.

The Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The holiday is determined by the sight of the new moon, causing the regional differences in the holiday. The holiday is the second-most important Islamic festivity and literally means “The Festival of Breaking the Fast.”

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Disneyland opening its doors in California.

Whoopi Goldberg hosts Comedy Series at the Kennedy Center. The event focuses on revering comedy as an art form and a means of connecting local community through laughter.

July 18, 2015

Nelson Mandela International Day, or Mandela Day, which celebrates the life of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela and encourages others to participate in service. Participants are asked to volunteer for at least 67 minutes as a tribute to the 67 years Mandela spent fighting for human rights. The celebration is held on his birthday.

First Lady Michelle Obama holds the annual Kids’ “State Dinner” on this day. The dinner will honor 54 winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a component of the Let’s Move! Initiative.

The annual Tanner Gun Show is held in Colorado, featuring all kinds of guns, knives and ammunition, along with related paraphernalia.

July 19, 2015

The NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference is held in San Francisco to discuss efforts and share strategies for increasing college readiness and access for low-income students. It is hosted by the National Council for Community and Education (NCCEP) and GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

The annual Des Moines Register’s Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, also known as RAGRAI XLIII, is held. This year’s participants will tour across Iowa covering 468 miles.

July 20, 2015

It’s the third anniversary of the shootings in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Gunman James Holmes shot and killed 12 people, injured 58, during a midnight “The Dark Knight Rises” screening. Holmes was arrested and charged with counts of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, and is currently on trial.

The New York Times hosts the Cities for Tomorrow Conference for industry leaders such as architects, city officials, venture capitalists, urban policy professionals and developers.

July 21, 2015

It’s been one year since the U.S. and EU expanded sanctions on Russia for its part in the Ukraine crisis. Initial measures were placed in March 2014 after Russian-backed militants invaded the Ukrainian region Crimea. This conflict prompted other actions by pro-Moscow separatists and the shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in July.

U.S. Banks must meet the proprietary trading terms of the “Volcker rule,” section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, by today. It is named after Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who pushed the idea after the financial crisis of 2008 in order to rebuild trust in the banking sector.

July 22, 2015

Fortune Magazine releases its 2015 Fortune Global 500 list today, which features the world’s largest corporations based on revenue. Last year’s lists were led by Wal-Mart, Shell and Sinopec. A total of 128 U.S. companies made the list, behind 150 from Europe, 57 from japan and 95 from China.

It’s been five years since the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled Kosovo’s independence declaration in Serbia, Feb 2008, was not in violation of international law.

The U.K.’s Prince George of Cambridge, named George Alexander Louis, celebrates his 2nd birthday. Prince George is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first son, and he is third in line to the British throne behind godfather, Prince of Wales, and father, Prince William.

Motley Crue starts the last round of The Final Tour in North America. The band’s last performance together will be on December 31st in their hometown Los Angeles.

July 23, 2015

It’s the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist bomb attacks at Sharm al-Sheikh resort at the Red Sea. The bombings killed 88 people including 10 British vacationers, and injured over 150. The attacks took place on the Egyptian national holiday “Revolution Day.”

British-American musician and songwriter Saul “Slash” Hudson celebrates his 50th birthday.

July 24, 2015

It’s been 5 years since 20 people were killed and over 500 injured after a stampede at the Love Parade dance musical festival in Duisburg, Germany. The attendees were trying to access the event through the only entrance, which lead to the overcrowding of a tunnel where most of the victims were stampeded.

The 16th World Aquatics Championships, or FINA Championships, start in Russia, featuring two weeks of events like swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.

July 25, 2015

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Concorde crash in Gonesse, Paris minutes after takeoff, killing all 109 passengers and crew members and four on the ground.

The annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit is hosted by President Obama and the Kenyan Government in Kenya starting today for innovation and entrepreneurship. This is first time the GES was held in sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth visit to sub-Saharan for Obama during his presidency.

National Dance Day 2015, as started in 2010 by Nigel Lythgoe to encourage people to incorporate dance into their lives for the sake of health and self-esteem. Signature events are to be held at Los Angeles Grand Park, The Lincoln Center in New York and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Los Angeles hosts the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games open.

July 26, 2015

The 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place in Cooperstown, N.Y.,  featuring first-time ballot honorees Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz.

Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, or CONCACAF, Gold Cup soccer tournament final.

Parents Day, celebration for activities and education efforts for the honoring, support and appreciation to parents by sons and daughters nationwide.

July 27, 2015

Defense Technology Contract Summit, or DEFTECH2015, is hosted in Arlington, Virginia in aide of the Department of Defense’s new major initiative to defend DoD systems, information and networks, protection against cyber-attacks and provide cyber capabilities to support military operations.

Veterans Treatment Court Conference, or Vet Court Con, held in Anaheim, California, a national conference on veterans, the criminal justice system, substance abuse and mental health.

The Food and Drug Administration hosts public workshop on “Robotically-Assisted Surgical (RAS) Devices: Challenges and Opportunities,” to gain information on RAS medical devices from feedback on scientific, clinical and regulatory considerations.

July 28, 2015

The Federal Open Market Committee holds first of two-day meeting for interest rates decision.

The State Department publishes its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, documenting abuses against religious freedom as well as progress towards religious freedom globally.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh hosts meeting seven of nine community meetings about the Boston Olympics 2024 effort.

July 29, 2015

The Federal Open Market Committee releases decision on U.S. interest rates.

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 OS operating system is available for PCs and tablets worldwide, with a free upgrade for Windows 7/8 customers.

July 30, 2015

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes the first set of GDP data for Quarter 2, 2015.

The Annual “Consumer Complaint Survey Report” released by the North American Consumer Protection Investigators and Consumer Federation of America.

It’s the 5th Annual Brasil Summerfest in New York celebrating Brazilian music and culture. Events take place in various venues throughout New York City.

United Nations International day of Friendship, proclaimed in 2011 by the UN in efforts to encourage friendship among people worldwide to foster peace and connection across global communities.

July 31, 2015

United Nations Security Council Iraq mandate is due for expiration if not extended. The mandate issued is for the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

The U.S. House of Representatives breaks for the summer break, or the District Work Period, including Labor Day. No votes will be made in the chamber, and the Senate will break the following week.

The 2022 Winter Olympics host city is named out of applicant cities Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan. Host for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics is also announced from applicant cities Lausanne, France or Brasov, Romania.

Tom Cruise returns in the “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” action-adventure sequel.

Lollapalooza Musical Festival, including performers such as Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, A$AP Rocky, and headlined by Paul McCartney on Friday.


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