Friday Afternoon State News Summary
Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:55:06 EST

(Capitol-SOS 2014)
Governor Rick Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State Address last night (Thursday) before a joint session of the House and Senate.
During his message, the governor talked about the state's budget surplus and how there could be some sort of tax relief. While he was not specific in what form that tax relief would come in, he did say he wants to ease the tax burden on the (quote) "hard working folk."
Snyder also used the opportunity to highlight some successes and boast that Michigan is the "comeback state." Among those accomplishments the governor cited improved job growth, increased home sales and prices, and two consecutive years of population growth.
He also cited a recent report that says Michigan led the nation in increased spending on early childhood education and called for more spending on early education to make Michigan (quote) "a no wait state" for early childhood education. He also noted that K-12 per pupil funding has increased $660 dollars over the past three years.
The governor also said he would like to encourage legal immigration into the state and that he would issue an executive order to create the Office for New Americans that would offer immigration services.
Snyder also echoed last year's call that lawmakers find more funding to repair the state's ailing roads.


(Capitol-SOS React)
Governor Rick Snyder says some of Michigan's projected near billion-dollar surplus should be used to provide tax relief to the (quote) "hard working folk," but Democrats say the surplus should be returned to those that paid for it.
During the State of the State Address, delivered last night (Thursday), Governor Snyder said the state must be responsible with the surplus money and indicated that some should be placed in the Rainy Day Fund, some should go toward early education, and that there could be some sort of tax relief.
But Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says the surplus is the result of taxing pensioners, and taking money from education and from the earned income tax credit. She says she would like to see that money used to rebate seniors and for more investment in education.
Democrats also disagreed with the governor's assessment that k-12 per pupil funding increased $660 since he's taken office.
House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says the state did put a lot of money into school employee retirement funds, but, he says, that does nothing to improve education. Greimel says more money needs to be invested in the classroom where it improves the quality of student education and reduces class size.


(Det-Triple Shooting)
Detroit police are searching for the gunman who opened fire on an SUV today (Fri), seriously injuring three people on the citys east side.
Police say a black Dodge Ram pulled up next to a red Ford Explorer and the gunman started shooting.   Other circumstances were not immediately confirmed.
A 34-year-old man was shot in the head and forearm, a 33-year-old woman was shot in thumb and neck, and a 31-year-old woman was shot in the buttocks. All three victims were rushed to local hospitals in temporary-serious condition.
A resident, who only wanted to be identified as Sean, told WWJ Radio that he heard about eight gunshots and saw the victims in front of his house.
Investigators are looking for at least one suspect, possibly two, driving a black Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detroit police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(Report-MI Emergency Care)
A new report from emergency doctors says government support for emergency care went from bad to worse in Michigan between 2009 and today.
The report was released by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Michigan ranked 43rd in the country in 2009 and dropped to 46th place in this year's report. Michigan received an overall grade of D.
The state did show improvements in the category of Quality and Patient Safety, but received a failing grade in the category of Access to Emergency Care.
The report says that while the state has high per capita rates of emergency physicians, it has below average rates of specialists, such as orthopedists and hand surgeons; plastic surgeons; and ear, nose, and throat specialists.
In addition, Michigan lacks an adequate supply of psychiatric beds.
As a result, the physicians recommend more medical specialists in the state. They also recommend reinstating the requirement that all motorcycle riders wear a helmet.


(Detroit-Boy Killed)
A 4-year-old child in Detroit has been killed, apparently as the result of an accidental shooting at the hands of his own cousin.
Police say the victim is a boy but the child who pulled the trigger is a girl.
According to authorities, three children were playing in a bedroom of a home on the city's west side when the boy's cousin found a loaded rifle in an unlocked case under the bed, pointed it at the child then pulled the trigger, striking him in the chest.
The boy was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say one adult was in the home at the time of the shooting, and they continue to investigate the incident. No word on any possible charges.
(WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)


(Sault Ste. Marie-Soo Locks Closed)
The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie have closed for the winter.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the locks closed to navigation on Wednesday in order to undergo annual maintenance and repairs.
The last freighter made its way out of the gate Wednesday afternoon carrying nearly 26-thousand tons of iron ore on its way to Detroit.
The Army Corps says planned activities over the next two months include installation of new hydraulic pump units for control of the Poe Lock operating gates, and a re-stressing of tension controls on Gate 1 of the Poe Lock. There will be several repairs made to the MacArthur Lock as well.
The Locks are scheduled to re-open to shipping in March. Over 4,500 vessels travel through the Soo Locks annually carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo.
(Help from: WPHM, Port Huron/WTIQ, Manistique)


(Grand Rapids-B.O.B. Death Hearing)
State regulators are looking into the death of a West Michigan man in May of 2013 in a fall from the stairwell in The B.O.B. nightclub in downtown Grand Rapids.
36-year old Kevin O'Brien of Wyoming was the third person to fall to his death from the fourth floor stairwell in recent years, and the facility is charged with overserving him, causing his death.
A Grand Rapids police detective testified before the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in Grand Rapids yesterday (Thursday) that witnesses reported the man was visibly intoxicated, which the club's owners say isn't true. They add O'Brien had been drinking at other bars as well that night and they should not be held responsible for his passing.
(24/7 News Source)


(Barry Co-Hit-Run Driver Sentenced)
A hit-and-run driver who left a motorcyclist for dead in Barry County last summer will spend nearly two decades behind bars.
39-year old Tobias Bowers of Hope Township was sentenced to 19 to 40 years in prison Wednesday by Barry County Circuit Judge Amy McDowell.
Bowers was charged in the death of 46-year old William Madden of Hastings in June of 2013 when he backed out of his driveway and stuck Madden who was riding a motorcycle on M-43 near Cloverdale Road in Hope Township.
Bowers had plead guilty to reckless driving causing death, driving on a suspended license causing death and leaving the scene of an accident causing death. A charge of domestic violence was dismissed.
Bowers is also an habitual offender. He faced a potential live sentence.
(Jean Gallup, WBCH, Hastings)


(MI-Fewer Millionaires)
According to a new report fewer millionaires called Michigan home last year.
Despite encouraging economic trends and a booming stock market, the state reportedly lost ten-thousand millionaire households in 2013.
According to Phoenix Global Wealth Monitor, who released the report this week, there are an estimated six-million millionaires nationwide and Michigan was home to 170-thousand of them last year.
Michigans numbers are down significantly from its heyday in 2007 when there were approximately 214-thousand millionaires in the state.
(WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)


(MI-State Police Awards)
A couple of feathers in the cap for those at the Michigan State Police Alpena Post.
Detective Sergeant Jennifer Pintar has been named the 2013 recipient of the Dr. Carl A. Gerstacker Trooper of the Year Award. The award recognizes the trooper or sergeant who symbolizes outstanding professional ethics, dedication to duty and a concern for giving back to their community.
Pintar is a 17-year veteran of the department.
Alpena Post Secretary Teresa Rucinski has been named the organization's 2013 Floyd R. Bell Jr. Civilian of the Year. Rucinski is an eight-year member of the department and a 21-year state employee.
State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue presented the awards to Rucinski and Sergeant Pintar on Thursday during a ceremony in Lansing.

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