Wednesday Morning State News Summary
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:59:25 EDT
Advocates of medical marijuana rallied at the State Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday, protesting the legal difficulties that have risen in some communities regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.
It follows a Supreme Court ruling that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal. In some communities, dispensaries have been shut down.
Joe Cain of the National Medical Marijuana Coalition, says thousands hvae lost access to medical marijuana, and he and others are calling on the Michigan Legislature to allow dispensaries to remain open, with the goal of having one statewide policy that complies "with the will of the voters" who approved medicinal marijuana in 2008.
The State Senate has approved and sent to the Michigan House legislation requiring hospitals and other health care providers to, on request, disclose thier so-called "medical futility policies."
Medical futility policies guide decisions for doctors to decide when treatment is unlikely to improve a patient's health or quality of life, or increase his or her lifespan.
Sponsors of the bill say some health care facilities don't always inform patients or their families on their medical futility policies in a timely fashion.
The bill is titled the "Medical good-Faith Provisions Act," requiring a health facility or agency to disclose in writing their policies.
House and Senate Democrats marked Pay Equity Day on Tuesday 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-No Fed Detention)
A bill that prohibits Michigan law enforcement and National Guard members from assisting the federal government from detaining U.S. citizens without trial is advancing at the state Capitol.
The House Oversight Committee yesterday (Tuesday) unanimously approved the measure, advancing to the House floor for consideration. The Senate has already passed an identical bill.
The bill, sponsored by House Republican Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills, is in response to the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision allowing the military to indefinitely detain any individual believed to have supported al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
McMillin says (quote) "We're standing up for the rights of people in Michigan," adding that due process should be a no-brainer.
Mlive.com reports that Michigan could become just the second state to prohibit local cooperation with the indefinite detention provision. Virginia adopted a similar law last year, and several other state legislatures are considering the issue.
(MI-Crime Fighting Grants)
Governor Rick Snyder announced that criminal justice agencies across the state will receive $1.2 million in federal grants to strengthen anti-drug and crime fighting efforts in Michigan.
The funding is made possible through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program which supports all aspects of the criminal justice system. This year's awards focus on technology enhancements.
Snyder says protecting Michigan citizens is a top priority and the grants will go a long way toward improving the technology and tools that support the public safety community.
Agencies receiving funding have until July 31 to spend their awards. A complete list of awarded programs, as well as grant criteria, is available online at michigan.gov/cjgrants.
Byrne JAG grants are named in honor of New York City Police Department Officer Edward Byrne who was fatally shot by drug traffickers in 1988, while on assignment protecting a witness in a drug case.
(Detroit-Medical Building Fire)
One body has been found as crews dig through a charred Detroit medical building, searching for two people unaccounted for after a shooting and a fire.
Fire officials told family members at the scene that the body is that of a female. A medical examiner was called in to help identify the remains.
Detroit police said the floor of the Park Medical Centers building, on Grand River near West Grand Boulevard, had collapsed. Heavy machinery was used to remove debris, eventually allowing firefighters enter.
Earlier Tuesday, workers at the facility said a former maintenance worker came in shooting and took a female worker downstairs before setting the building ablaze.
The victim is believed to be medical assistant Sharita Williams, whose mother, Antha Williams-Hill, spoke to reporters. The mother said her daughter was in a relationship with a man and she was trying to get out of it.
Police did not immediately confirm the identities of the two missing people.
(MI-Ford Small Cars)
Small cars are leading to big global sales for American carmakers, with Ford’s Focus easily beating Toyota’s Corolla for the number one spot, and the Chevrolet Cruze also making the top ten list, ahead of Honda’s Civic.
Data from R.L. Polk shows that global Focus registrations jumped 16 percent last year. The Focus was helped by a new plant in China, which allowed Ford to sell more vehicles in the world’s largest car market.
Ford has two other vehicles on the top ten list, the Fiesta and F-series.
There were 81 million cars and trucks sold around the world last year, a new record. That number is expected to grow this year.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit)
Ridership on Amtrak's Wolverine passenger train line increased in Michigan in March.
Total Amtrak ridership grew 1.9 percent to 2,816,154 passengers in March, compared with March 2012. While ridership on Amtrak’s Wolverine passenger train line from Chicago to Detroit increased 11.9 percent to 46,754 passengers in March.
Mlive.com reports the growth put the Wolverine line among the leading routes for Amtrak in the period. In North America, only five other routes saw higher growth rates.
Elsewhere in Michigan, Amtrak’s Pere Marquette line from Chicago to Grand Rapids fell 2.2 percent to 49,401 passengers in the first six months of the company’s fiscal year. Ridership on the Blue Water Line, which passes through Kalamazoo, East Lansing and ends in Port Huron, fell 3.1 percent to 86,408 passengers over the period.
(Grand Rapids-Hospital Expansion)
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital officials broke ground 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)
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.
(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.
(Canton Twp-Police Thief)
A Canton Township police lieutenant is facing several charges and is on administrative leave after being accused of stealing a weapon from the department.
Police officials say 55-year-old Lt. Jerry Hardesty was arraigned Tuesday morning on charges of larceny of a weapon/firearm, receiving and concealing the weapon, and an additional felony firearm count.
Defense attorney John Goldpaugh (GOLD paw) says Hardesty is accused of taking what is described only as a long gun that was in his custody legitimately. Hardesty added that the 24-year-police veteran is, "very distraught" over the charges.
(24/7 News Source)
(Ludington-Consumers Wind Turbines)
Consumers Energy company departed from its practice of not commenting on pending lawsuits, to say that they do recognize there are issues with the 56 huge wind turbine generators just south of Ludington in the new Lakewinds Energy Park.
Seventeen residents filed a lawsuit asking for $25,000 in damages and for the turbines to be stopped. They complained of physical ailments like headaches, insomnia, dizziness and ringing in their ears from the whirring fan blades that are hundreds of feet long and from the flickering shadows.
Consumers spokesman Dan Bishop says the flickering is an issue they can try to change immediately and are reprogramming "the shadow flicker detection system" allow for "a greater distance between turbine and residents." He said that work will be complete on Monday, April 15th.
The noise is another issue to be considered. Bishop stressed that Consumers Energy's Lakewinds project meets or exceeds the various governments' zoning requirements.
(John Bry, WOOD, Grand Rapids)
(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)
There were no winners in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing.
That means Friday's jackpot will be worth $66 (M) million dollars.
The Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday night were: 17, 30, 41, 48, and 54. The mega ball was 13. The megaplier was: 4x.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery were: 4-6-4.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 8-3-8-6.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 8-7-7.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were: 9-1-6-3.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 11-15-23-27-29.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 03, 04, 05, 09, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 33, 35, 39, 40, 49, 51, 52, 56, 66, 69, 70, 76, 80.
Tonight's (Wed) Classic Lotto 47 jackpot is worth two-point-seven (M) million dollars.