Friday Morning State News Summary
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 02:00:13 EDT
(Capitol-Unemployment Drug Testing)
The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would deny jobless benefits for those who either refused to take a drug test, or who failed a drug test.
Under the legislation, jobless residents that fail or refuse to take a drug test for a prospective employer could lose unemployment benefits.
Current Michigan law requires residents to look for work in order to receive unemployment benefits from the state. But the legislation treats failure or refusal to participate in a pre-employment drug test as proof that an individual refused an offer of suitable work.
The legislation does not mandate that the prospective employer, which required a drug test, report a refusal or test results to the state. But if it does make the report, which could result in the termination of an individuals unemployment benefits, that individual would have the opportunity to appeal.
The bill now returns to the House, which passed an earlier version of the bill, but must sign off on changes made in the Senate.
State officials are teaming up with Wayne State University, to learn about what motorists think of the idea of center line rumble strips for Michigan's two lane highways.
Centerline rumble strips are a pattern of depressions installed on the centerline of two-lane highways to alert distracted or drowsy drivers that they are crossing the centerline.
Many states have reported reductions in head-on and related crashes after installation of centerline rumble strips. MDOT and WSU are conducting a survey on the idea.
Nationwide data shows that one in five non-intersection fatal crashes involve two vehicles crashing head-on.
Seventy-five percent of these crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads. Thirty percent of the deaths are persons under the age of 25.
Governor Rick Snyder says the agreement that ended the federal government shutdown and raised the nation’s debt ceiling only provides a temporary fix and does 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 nation’s 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 it’s 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 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-Minimum Wage Poll)
A majority of Michigan voters favor increasing the state's minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10 an hour by 2016, according to a new poll.
The survey by Marketing Resource Group and Mitchell Research and Communications found that 58 percent of poll respondents favored raising the minimum wage and 38 percent were against it.
The poll also found that most voters feel the state is on the wrong track. When asked whether the state is on the right track, 43 percent said it is while 47 percent said it is not.
The phone survey of 600 potential voters was taken October 6-10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
(MI-Hate Crimes Down)
The number hate crimes in Michigan are down, according to Michigan State Police (MSP) data.
There were 375 incidents of hate crimes in 2012, down 7 percent from 2011 when there were 403 incidents.
Most of the hate crimes committed were based on racial bias, which accounted for 64 percent of hate crimes. The next highest was because of religion of sexual orientation, at 12 percent each.
The most common form of hate crime was intimidation or stalking with 160 offenses. Non-aggravated assault accounted for 105 offenses, and property damage was involved in 77 offenses.
Whites accounted for 63 percent of the offenders.
The most common place for a hate crime to take place is at a home or residence, where 36 percent of the incidents occured. The next most common location was a highway, road or alley at 15 percent.
(Grand Rapids-Drug Ring)
Police in West Michigan say a multi-county drug-trafficking organization used Michigan’s medical marijuana law as a ruse to grow and sell marijuana across the state.
The Medical Marijuana Team and 27 people allegedly associated with the group are named in a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Kent Area Narcotics Team worked with many area agencies in a joint investigation called "Operation High Mileage" into a marijuana growth and sale operation across Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Grand Traverse and Oceana counties. More than 160 officers took part in the investigation.
Most of those named in the complaint have been arrested and all were taken to the Kent County jail, accused of federal drug crimes. 500 marijuana plants and assets determined to be drug proceeds were seized in the raids.
The government said the organization sold high-grade marijuana for up to $3,200 a pound.
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 year’s Capitol Christmas tree came from Jackson.
(Detroit-Kilpatrick Father Sentence)
Bernard Kilpatrick is facing 15 months behind bars for cheating on his taxes.
The 72-year old father of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted in March of filing a false tax return. He was sentenced Thursday for the only crime stemming from the Detroit City Hall corruption case.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the jury couldn't agree on a racketeering conspiracy charge, but she believes there's evidence showing Bernard Kilpatrick was part of it.
He also was ordered to pay back more than 60-thousand-dollars in restitution to the IRS.
(24/7 News Source)
(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)
(Sturgis-Accountant Shooting Death-UPDATE)
A Kalamazoo man has been charged with killing a Sturgis accountant.
37-year-old Andy Brown was arraigned Thursday afternoon in St. Joseph County District Court on first-degree premeditated murder and felony firearm charges.
Brown was formerly employed by David Locey before he was fired and charged with allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 over a 2 year period from 2010 through 2012.
But just before his preliminary examination was to start yesterday, prosecutors dropped the embezzlement charge and charged Brown with Locey's murder.
The 70-year old Locey was found dead October 2nd in his Sherman Township office on M-66 north of Sturgis. Investigators said it appeared Locey sustained three gunshot wounds.
Brown is being held on a two-million dollar bond pending a preliminary hearing on October 31. If convicted of the murder charge he faces a mandatory life in prison sentence without parole.
(Help from: WLKM, Three Rivers)
The Autism Alliance of Michigan kicked off a new anti-bullying campaign in Lansing Thursday. 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-Scrap Metal Theft)
A state Senate committee held a hearing in southwest Detroit 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-Homes Demolished)
The first of an expected 100 abandoned Grand Rapids homes met demolition 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 Program’s Hardest Hit Fund, designed to help homeowners in states hit hardest by the housing crisis.
(Chuck LaTour, WOOD, Grand Rapids/24/7 News Source)
The Queen of Soul is back in the recording studio.
Detroit's iconic Aretha Franklin is working on new songs after recovering from health problems.
The 71-year old Franklin says she's recording her new album with producers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and native Detroiter Don Was, who’s known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson.
Franklin canceled several concerts earlier this year for health reasons.
(WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)
Tonight's (Fri) Mega Millions jackpot is worth $37 (m) million dollars.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Thursday were: 8-0-5.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 4-9-4-7.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 0-7-5.
The winning numbers for the evening 4 lottery were: 1-3-7-2.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 13-17-26-30-36.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 02, 03, 07, 09, 11, 18, 19, 28, 37, 38, 40, 41, 47, 49, 51, 55, 60, 64, 66, 70, 71, 80.
Saturday's Classic Lotto jackpot is projected to be one-point-one (m) million dollars.