Tuesday State News Summary
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:47:02 EDT
(Capitol-Pay Equity)
Today, April 9, is considered Pay Equity Day because it takes women from January 1, 2012, until today to match what men earned in 2012 alone.
House and Senate Democrats marked the day by introducing a package of bills to bring pay equity to Michigan saying full-time working women in the state make 74 percent of their male counterparts, even less than the nationwide gap of 77 percent.
The package includes legislation to: prohibit an employer from failing to provide equal compensation for work of comparable value, create a state commission on pay equity and create penalties for employers who pay different wages to men and women who are "similarly situated" - employees with similar qualifications, experience, etc.
The legislation also requires an employer to provide, at an employee's request, wage information for "similarly situated employees." Democrats say if lawmakers want to create and retain jobs in the state, Michigan cannot continue to be 44th in the nation for pay equity.


(Capitol-Human Services Cuts)
More than 1,000 staff reductions and a closure of the state’s three juvenile justice facilities would occur under the Department of Human Services budget approved today (Tuesday) by a House Appropriations subcommittee.
The bill went to the full Appropriations Committee on a party line vote of 4-2.
Under the legislation, all three DHS juvenile justice facilities would close, and the youth residing in them would have to be transferred to a private facility or elsewhere.
The budget also reduces staff by 1,051 or 8.5 percent.
Gongwer News Services reports Republican subcommittee chair Peter MacGregor said even with the cuts, the department would be 100 percent compliant with the settlement agreement between the state and the Children’s Rights organization that sued the state in federal court.


(Detroit-Medical Building Fire-UPDATE)
Two people are unaccounted for after a medical office building was set on fire this morning (Tuesday) on Detroit’s west side.
Detroit police say the floor of the Park Medical Centers building collapsed and fire crews have not been able to enter the building.
Workers at the facility said a former maintenance worker came in shooting and took a female worker downstairs before setting the building ablaze. The missing woman is believed to be his ex-girlfriend.
The building was destroyed.
Police have not confirmed the identities of the two missing people.
Along with medical offices, the building also housed the Michigan Boxing Hall of Fame and the offices of former state boxing commissioner Dr. Stuart Kirchenbaum, a staff member at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital.
(Pat Sweeting, WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)


(Grand Rapids-Hospital Expansion)
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital officials broke ground today (Tuesday) on a $54 million expansion and renovation project.
The addition to the Grand Rapids facility will double the space for patients, decrease the cost of delivering care, and give patients more time with nurses and therapists.
Mary Free Bed President and CEO Kent Riddle says the hospital will expand its services to cancer survivors with cancer rehabilitation.
The Mary Free Bed Guild is providing the lead gift for the project -- $16 million.
During today's ceremony, Susan Ford Bales announced the establishment of The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program, honoring her mother and grandmother.
The daughter of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford acknowledged her family ties to Mary Free Bed. Bales' mother and grandmother were active supporters of the hospital. Betty Bloomer Ford was a founding member of the Junior Guild in 1935. Hortense Neahr Bloomer was Guild president from 1931-1932.
(Chuck LaTour, WOOD, Grand Rapids)


(MIPoll-Customer Choice)
A poll released by advocates of greater competition for electric customers shows 82 percent of voters wanting the freedom to shop for their electricity provider.
The Energy Choice Now group is urging the Legislature to increase the percentage of the market that the competing electric companies can service. Current law caps that amount at 10 percent with the rest left to Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.
The group noted the poll showed 70 percent said the issue would be a very important factor in how they vote.
The poll, conducted by Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group, was conducted among 600 likely voters between March 17-23 and has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


(Ypsilanti-Reward Offered)
A private investigator is offering a ten-thousand dollar reward for information leading to an arrest in connection with the December murder of a 23-year-old Eastern Michigan University student.
Julie Niswender was found dead inside her Ypsilanti apartment on December 11th. In January investigators ruled her death a homicide.
Duvall Group Investigations, owned by a friend of the victim's family, is offering the reward.
(24/7 News Source)


(Marquette-NMU Student Death-UPDATE)
Law enforcement officials at Northern Michigan University say the investigation of the death of a 22-year old student has been officially closed.
The body of Monica Matus of Chicago, a senior at Northern, was found in her Woodland Apartment on Friday.
The university says an autopsy determined there was no foul play involved and there was no connection to any university accident.
An official says any further information, including the autopsy results, would have to come from the family.
Matus was an art and design, secondary education major and a film studies minor.
(Help from: Aaron Harper,WJNR,WOBE,WHTO, Iron Mountain/WTIQ, Manistique)


(Grand Rapids-Ponzi Suspect Jailed)
A West Michigan man is behind bars pending trial in connection with a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
A U.S. Magistrate judge ordered David McQueen jailed on suspicion of bank fraud and perjury while he was free on bond. McQueen, Trent Francke, also of Byron Center, and three other people are charged in the 46-point-five-million dollar investment scheme.
Federal prosecutors say they formed a “private investment group” and told potential investors they had contacts with stock and currency traders to deliver returns as high as 100 percent or more. The investors were encouraged to invest their life savings and retirement accounts.


(Muskegon Co-Mental Health Review)
A 20-year old man will undergo a mental health evaluation as part of the investigation into a fatal crash in Muskegon County Friday that killed his mother.
Lorenzo Martinez of Montcalm County's Pierson village is facing a charge of manslaughter with a motor vehicle.
Martinez' mother, 45-year old Alicia Keech, was driving their truck when it hit a semi head-on. Passengers in her truck say Martinez grabbed the wheel and turned the vehicle into the path of the semi, killing Keech instantly.
Authorities have said Martinez has a history of mental illness.
(24/7 News Source)


(Detroit-Maroun Bridge Lawsuit)
Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun (muh - ROON) has filed a lawsuit against federal officials and the Canadian government in an attempt to halt the construction of a second crossing over the Detroit River.
According to the Detroit Free Press, in the suit, Moroun's International Bridge Company, claims a "perpetual and exclusive franchise right" granting the Ambassador Bridge the right to operate without competition from another bridge.
Moroun claims that the proposed New International Trade Crossing would violate that right.
(24/7 News Source)


(Wolverine-Lions Club Embezzlement)
A Northern Michigan woman has been arrested for allegedly embezzling money from the local Lions Club.
Michigan State Police say 46-year-old Kathleen Starkey of Wolverine in Cheboygan County took around $4,000 from the club between July, 2012, and January while she was a secretary for the organization.
Police started their investigation following a complaint.
Starkey was arraigned last week on a charge of embezzlement from a non-profit charity. She faces up to five years in prison.
Starkey is free on bond pending a preliminary exam on April 17th.
(WATZ, Alpena)


(Inkster-Murder-Suicide)
Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide involving a husband and wife in Inkster.
Authorities responded to the home late Monday night because the garage was on fire.
Sgt. Jeffrey Twardzik said when officers arrived, they looked through a front door window and noticed blood on the walls. Inside the home authorities found the body of Cindy Bailey who had been stabbed multiple times and the body of Tony Bailey was found burned in the garage.
Investigators say there is evidence of an intense struggle inside the home.
Twardzik said it’s too early in the investigation to say for sure what led to the killings.
The investigation is ongoing.
(WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)


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