Thursday Afternoon State News Summary
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 13:46:09 EDT

(Snyder-Shutdown Deal)
Governor Rick Snyder says the agreement that ended the federal government shutdown and raised the nations debt ceiling only provides a temporary fix and does not not resolve the underlying issues.
In a statement, the Governor says if the shutdown had continued and the nation gone into default, the people in need are the ones who would have paid the highest price. According to Snyder, fighting has replaced serving the people as the top priority in Washington.
He says the nations toughest problems persist year after year because any efforts to solve them quickly vanish in a quagmire of political infighting.
Snyder claims leaders in Washington should look to Michigan to see how its possible to improve the political culture by using his approach of relentless positive action. He says that means no blame, no credit, just focus on solving a problem and then move on to the next one.
The 16-day standoff that had cut off some state funding and forced furloughs for federal employees in Michigan.
The deal will permit the Treasury to borrow normally through at least February 7 and fund the government through January 15.

(MI-Prison Lawsuit)
A lawsuit filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections alleges that inmates younger than 18 have been assaulted by older inmates.
The suit has been filed by attorney Deborah LaBelle, the same attorney who won a 2009 settlement of 100-million dollars on behalf of female inmates claiming to have been sexually abused by corrections officers.
The plaintiffs in this case are seven "John Doe" prisoners who claim that while they were minors housed with adults in prison they were sexually and physically abused by the older prisoners.
In seeking class action status, though, LaBelle says the suit is filed on behalf of more than 500 prisoners between the ages of 14 and 17 who have been housed with adults over the past three years.
(24/7 News Source)

(MI-State Christmas Tree)
Michigan's Capitol Christmas tree for 2013 will come from the Western Upper Peninsula.
A 68-foot tall spruce tree currently located in the backyard of Jonny and Barbara Waara's home in Iron River has been selected to be displayed in front of the Capitol building in Lansing throughout the holiday season. Jonny told the Iron Mountain Daily News that he is unsure of the tree's age, as it was already on the property when he moved in about 10 years ago.
The Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association partner in the tree selection, harvest, and delivery process.
This year's harvest ceremony is scheduled for November 6.
It all culminates with the lighting of the tree in downtown Lansing on November 22nd as part of the 29th Annual Silver Bells in the City celebration.
Last years Capitol Christmas tree came from Jackson.

(Detroit-GM Global Sales)
Global sales for General Motors vehicles rose by over five-percent in the third quarter of the year with two-point-four million vehicles sold.
Over 808-thousand vehicles were sold in North America, which was over six-percent higher than one year ago. Sales in Europe were up by over four-percent while the International Operations recorded an eight percent jump from last year. Sales in South America were down by over four-percent.
The Chevrolet brand set a record with one-point-25-million vehicles sold globally in the third quarter.
(24/7 News Source)

(MI-Anti-Bullying Campaign)
The Autism Alliance of Michigan begins a new anti-bullying campaign today (Thursday) in Lansing. The plan calls for the organization to visit 659 middle schools in Michigan in 180 days.
It's part of the "Relentless Tour" which features former Michigan State basketball player Anthony Ianni (eye-AHN-nee), who suffered from autism. He says he was taken advantage of by classmates when he was younger and was a victim of bullying.
Ianni plans to be in the Detroit suburb of Berkley tomorrow (Friday) and will leave a plaque at each school to represent their commitment to stop student bullying.
(24/7 News Source)

(Capitol-Rusty License Plates)
No longer would you see rusted out and unreadable license plates from Michigan under a bill now before the State Senate.
The House-passed measure requires drivers to get a new license plate every ten years at a cost of 5 dollars. If enacted it will take effect in 2015 and ban plates issued from 2005 and before from being renewed.
Republican Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba says when license plates are allowed to get rusty police cannot identify a car as easily.
Lawmakers are targeting the Auto Centennial license plate first offered in 1996, with thousands of those still on the roads well beyond their intended lifespan.

(Capitol-License Plate Readers)
Legislation regulating the use of electronic license plate readers by police in Michigan ran into strong opposition Wednesday from leading law enforcement organizations.
Among other things, the bill before the House Criminal Justice Committee would require police agencies using the devices to purge the data collected within 48 hours unless there's evidence of specific criminal activity.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk criticized the bill noting that since February, police there have recovered 17 stolen vehicles and cleared 28 warrants from the system as a result of using the devices.
Wayne County Undersheriff Daniel Pfannes, speaking on behalf of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Sheriffs Association, criticized the 48-hour limit. He said of the 350 homicides in Detroit each year, 5-10 percent of the bodies are found 48 hours or more after the homicide. He suggested a three- to five-year data purging schedule.
The measure also prohibits license plate readers that record pictures of drivers, regulates under what circumstances they can be used and allows the Justice Department to ban the use of the devices at agencies found to be in violation of the bill.
Automated license plate readers are often mounted on police cars or road signs and bridges, and use small high-speed cameras that can photograph thousands of plates per minute, with information digitally stored including the date, time and location of every scan.
One state, New Hampshire, has banned police from using the device.

(Capitol-Scrap Metal Theft)
A state Senate committee is holding a hearing in southwest Detroit today (Thursday) to address the problem and potential solutions to scrap metal thefts.
Officials say the thefts affect urban, suburban and rural communities and directly contribute to the problem of blight. According to officials, copper has been the most frequently targeted metal, however other types of metal are also on the rise.
State Senator Michael Kowall, of White Lake, says scrap metal theft is a danger to the community and thieves can no longer be allowed to strip our communities to make a fast and illegal buck.
(24/7 News Source)

(Grand Rapids-Suspicious Death)
Grand Rapids police are investigating what they are calling the suspicious death of a 56-year-old man.
Authorities say the victim was found unresponsive by his girlfriend Wednesday night in her Maple Grove condominium on the city's northeast side.
The victim died at the scene. His name is being withheld pending notification of family. An autopsy is pending.
The Department's Major Case Team is investigating.

(Detroit-Impala Natural Gas)
A version of the 2015 Chevrolet Impala will be able to run on two different fuels. While that's not necessarily new with flex-fuel vehicles available for years, the fuels this time will be.
General Motors announced the car will be able to run on either natural gas or gasoline.
Natural gas isn't widely available as a motor fuel, and GM officials believe selling between 750 and one-thousand of the cars would "be a home run."
Natural gas has long been seen as a solid alternative fuel. But its not nearly as available as gasoline.
General Motors is not saying what the sticker price will be when the bi-fuel Impala comes out next year. GM is also expected to announce other details about the vehicle closer to its launch, including options for refueling with natural gas.
The Impala is the first vehicle to offer a manufacturer produced bi-fuel system. Honda has a Civic available that runs on natural gas only.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)

(Grand Rapids-Homes Demolished)
The first of an expected 100 abandoned Grand Rapids homes met demolition today (Thursday).
The $2.5 million initiative called "Fresh Start" is the largest residential demolition in the city's history.
Kent County Treasurer and Land Bank Chair Ken Parrish says unlike Detroit, where tens of thousands of homes have been demolished with no expectation of new construction, the 100 homes to be demolished in Grand Rapids are set for redevelopment. At least 15 properties have already been purchased.
Parrish says in the meantime, ridding the city of abandoned homes will make the city safer and save taxpayer money.
Grand Rapids funding comes from $100 million in federal spending the Michigan State Housing Development Authority was approved to allocate in 2013 by the U.S. Treasury as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Programs Hardest Hit Fund, designed to help homeowners in states hit hardest by the housing crisis.
(Chuck LaTour, WOOD, Grand Rapids/24/7 News Source)

(Detroit-Wayward Sheep)
A sheep that went on the lam during a trip to the slaughterhouse and ended up in an auto shop on the east side of Detroit is heading to greener pastures.
According to officials with the Michigan Humane Society, the female sheep will spend the rest of her years at an animal sanctuary in Manchester.
Tuesday, the sheep made its run for freedom and ended up inside Nortown Collision, where mechanics trapped the animal in the shop for a couple of hours until she was picked up by authorities.
Police say the sheep was tagged for slaughter and they believe it got away from a butcher shop.
(24/7 News Source)

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