Thursday Morning State News Summary
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 02:02:25 EDT
Those waiting for a federal judge to decide on Michigan's ban on same-sex
marriage... will have to wait a little longer.
It was expected that U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman would issue his
decision yesterday (Wednesday) whether Michigan's gay-marriage ban is
constitutional, but instead he set a trial date on the issue for February 25.
Friedman says he wont make a decision without hearing testimony from experts on
whether theres a legitimate state interest in banning gay marriage.
Two Detroit-area nurses in a lesbian relationship argued in their lawsuit that
the states constitutional amendment violates the U.S. Constitutions Equal
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse also have challenged the legality of the state's
Adoption Code prohibiting same-sex couples from jointly adopting children.
DeBoer and Rowse initially sued Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill
Schuete because they can't jointly adopt the three children they're raising
together in Hazel Park. At Judge Friedman's suggestion, they expanded the case
to challenge the state's gay marriage ban.
Michigan voters approved the same-sex marriage ban in 2004.
Revenues coming into Michigan's General and School Aid Funds last month were
above predictions, according to the State Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA).
Revenue from the funds totaled $2.3 billion in September 2013. That's $169.3
million above the Senate Fiscal Agency's estimate for the month based on the May
consensus revenue estimating conference.
The SFA report attributes more than 60 percent of the month's deviation from
estimates to unusual events under the repealed Michigan Business Tax (MBT) and
individual income tax refunds.
For the month, General Fund collections were $171.4 million above expectations,
while School Aid Fund collections were $1.5 million below estimates. The
remaining $0.7 million in below-forecast collections reflected other funds, most
notably constitutional revenue sharing.
For the year, General Fund collections are $219.4 million above, and School Aid
Fund collections $164.8 million above levels expected at the May 2013 consensus
Michigan residents would be allowed to place a security freeze on their credit
information under legislation approved on Wednesday by the State Senate.
The bill would allow individuals to use a secure pin number to place or to lift
a freeze on their account and also those of their children through the three
major credit reporting bureaus.
The sponsor of the legislation, Republican Senator John Proos of St. Joseph says
so that legitimate applications for new credit or services could be processed,
the measure would allow a consumer to temporarily lift the freeze when applying
for credit by contacting the reporting agency and providing identification.
Michigan is one of the only states without a credit freeze law in place.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
(MI-Drug Take Back)
Michigan State Police will partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration and
other local law enforcement agencies for National Prescription Drug Take-Back
Day to provide a venue for citizens to dispose of unwanted and unused
The one-day Take-Back effort is scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday,
State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue says the 29 posts across the
state will serve as drop-off points allowing citizens a safe and confidential
way to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted medications for destruction.
No liquids, inhalers, patches, or syringes are to be accepted. The service is
free and anonymous with no questions asked.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from
family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of
unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash
both pose potential safety and health hazards.
A full list of where the drugs can be dropped off is available from the Michigan
State Police. Additional collection sites across the state can be found online
(MIPoll-Senate Race Even)
Michigan's first open U.S. Senate race in 20 years remains a statistical tie.
A recent poll by Marketing Resource Group and Mitchell Research &
Communications, shows former Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land with
40 percent support to 39 percent for Democratic Congressman Gary Peters.
MRG President Tom Sheilds says the race is still regionally divided, with Peters
doing well in his home area of Southeast Michigan and Land in West Michigan
where she once served as Kent County Clerk. She is currently the Michigan
Republican Party's national committeewoman.
The phone survey of 600 potential voters taken October 6-10 has a margin of
error of plus or minus four percentage points.
(Detroit-Bing Blasts Orr)
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says its not personal, but hes not happy with the work
of state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
Bing says Orr is a bankruptcy expert, but doesnt seem to know what hes doing
when it comes to running Detroit.
Bing said he realizes that city government is a difficult animal to manage but
that being said, he believes that his office - along with the legislature -
should still be running things in the Motor City.
Under Michigans emergency manager law, the Detroit City Council and the mayor
have few powers while an EM is at the helm.
Declaring that Detroit would not be able to pay off more than $18 billion owed
to creditors, Orr in July filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on behalf of the city.
Orr has been on the job in Detroit since March. He receives an annual salary of
$275,000, paid by the state.
(MI-Rest Area Closing)
The Michigan Department of Transportation is closing the Higgins Lake Rest Area
on southbound US-127 near Grayling December 2 due to the high cost to maintain
or remodel it, and the presence of nearby rest areas.
M-DOT says the rest area is under-used by travelers and has remained open 20
years past its expected service life. It determined that the rest area is
obsolete compared to the current statewide system of 81 rest areas.
Officials say it would cost $3-4 million to remodel or replace the facility and
only about 500 travelers use the rest area daily.
Bill Wahl, M-DOT's North Region associate engineer for operations, says
motorists will still have the option to use the Hartwick Pines Rest Area, 22
miles to the north of Higgins Lake, or the Clare Welcome Center, 42 miles to the
The Higgins Lake Rest Area was one of two rest areas included in a recent
request for proposals on possible public-private partnership development.
M-DOT says it will remove the facility and access ramps as part of a scheduled
construction project on US-127 in 2014, making the site more attractive for
future possibilities. The department will maintain ownership of the site and
continue to pursue possible redevelopment.
The University of Michigan says enrollment on the Ann Arbor campus has set an
all-time record for the fifth consecutive year.
According to the U-M Office of the Registrar, 43,710 students were enrolled this
fall. That represents an increase of 284 students or 0.7 percent over a year
The number of graduate/professional students enrolled was down 0.1 percent to
15,427, while undergraduate enrollment grew by 1.1 percent to 28,283. This
includes an entering class of 6,225, which is 0.9 percent more students than in
For the first time in 10 years, the freshman class has a clear majority of
women, with 3,190 (51.7 percent) women and 3,035 (48.3 percent) men.
Using the new reporting guidelines, underrepresented minority freshmen
constitute 10.6 percent of the incoming class, an increase over the previous
year, in which underrepresented minorities accounted for 10 percent of the
incoming class under the post-2010 reporting categories.
UM officials say that for the seventh straight year, applications for the
entering class of 2013 set an all-time record: 46,813, which is 4,269 or 10
percent above 2012. The university issued 15,570 offers of admissions, 19 more
than last year.
Attorneys for the City of Detroit argued the bankruptcy filing made in July
should be allowed to go forward and defended the Emergency Manager Law.
A number of creditors and union officials have argued the city is not eligible
for bankruptcy and said the E.M. law violates the Michigan Constitution. Union
officials have also argued the reduction in pension benefits for Detroit's
workers and retirees is against the law.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is considering the arguments and will make a
determination on the city's bankruptcy eligibility later this month.
(24/7 News Source)
Whats Michigans best city?
Real estate research blog Movoto put together a list of the 50 most populous
cities and townships in Michigan, then gave each city a rank taking into
consideration available amenities, cost of living, crime, education, employment,
and home values.
The blog averaged the criteria together for each city and gave it an overall Big
Deal Score. The lower this number was, the higher the city ranked.
Coming in first was Midland, followed by Novi, Canton, Portage, Ann Arbor, Grand
Blanc, Royal Oak, East Lansing and Farmington Hills. Troy and West Bloomfield
tied for number 10.
Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac and Taylor rank at the bottom with Detroit
coming in dead last.
(Grand Rapids-Ponzi Scheme)
The owner of a breakfast restaurant chain in the Grand Rapids area has been
charged in connection with a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
The Michigan Attorney General's office is charging New Beginnings owner Doug
Kacos and another man, Tom Doctor, with money laundering, while the man at the
helm of the scheme is already serving prison time.
It's alleged the men made roughly nine-million dollars and defrauded nearly 150
Kacos told WOOD-TV that he only allowed his name to be used on some documents,
thinking it might help get his money back from the mastermind of the con.
The Attorney General's office says Kacos and Doctor both tried to recruit new
victims and sent large amounts of money overseas.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids)
(Presque Isle Co-Standoff Suspect)
A 29-year old Northeast Michigan man has been charged after holding police at
bay for three hours at a house in Onaway Tuesday morning.
Matthew Wenn is facing misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and possession
of firearms under the influence.
The Presque Isle County Sheriff's Office said a domestic incident between Wenn
and his girlfriend Monday night triggered the standoff.
Wenn was arrested when he walked out of the house with his hands on his head.
Authorities believed he was drunk with weapons inside the home.
Wenn is being held on a 10-thousand dollar bond pending a preliminary exam on
The standoff forced nearby Onaway Community Schools, Presque Isle Academy and
Onaway Headstart to close for the day.
(Grand Rapids-Meth By Mail)
A Kalamazoo-area woman is in trouble with the feds after investigators say she
received methamphetamine through the mail. U.S. Postal inspectors discovered a
suspicious package last week at the Grand Rapids Priority Mail Center.
A K-9 inspection raised eyebrows, and inspectors found about 200 grams of
crystal meth inside.
When Magdalena Stevenson of Ostego arrived at the post office and picked up the
package, she was taken into custody on federal drug charges.
(24/7 News Source)
(Grand Rapids-Lady Antebellum Reschedules)
West Michigan fans of the wildly popular country-pop trio Lady Antebellum will
have to wait a little bit longer to see them live. A show originally scheduled
for November 12th at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids is being postponed until
Tickets for the original date will be honored for the February date, and if you
want your money back, you can get a refund at the point of purchase.
(24/7 News Source)
There were no winning tickets sold in Wednesday's Classic Lotto 47 game.
That means Saturday's jackpot will be worth one-point-one (1,100,000) (m)
The numbers drawn Wednesday were: 04, 06, 11, 13, 26, and 36.
The Powerball numbers from last night: 03-26-28-34-42.
The power ball was 28.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Wednesday were: 2-3-4.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 1-7-0-0.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 3-1-3.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were: 5-8-3-8.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 10-15-20-32-38.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 02, 04, 07, 08, 10, 15, 16, 19,
20, 21, 22, 29, 37, 46, 47, 51, 59, 66, 68, 72, 75, 76.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot will be worth at least $37 (m) million dollars.
Saturday's Powerball jackpot will be worth $186 (m) million dollars.