Tuesday Afternoon State News Summary
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 12:22:07 EDT
(MI-Motorcycle Fatalities Decrease)
The group that pushed for the repeal of Michigans mandatory helmet law says
recent data proves opponents were wrong in claiming that to allow rider choice
in wearing a helmet or not would mean an increase in motorcyclists fatalities.
ABATE Michigan President Vince Consiglio says they used the Michigan State
Police/Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning data which compares motorcycle
data between January 1 and August 31 for the last two years and the numbers
speak for themselves.
The study says from 2011, before the mandatory helmet law was revoked, to 2012
when the law changed, total fatalities dropped from 89 to 85- a 4.5 percent
reduction.
Adjusting the data to show fatalities as a percentage of motorcyclists involved
shows a decrease from 3.24 percent to 3.05 percent - a 5.8 percent reduction.
During the same time period, the number of motorcycle registrations increased
from 261,658 to 266,589.
If the fatality rate is adjusted to the total of motorcycle registrations it
shows that the fatality rate has decreased from 0.034% to 0.0318% since the
helmet-law amendment - a 7% reduction.
The requirement for motorcycle helmets was amended on April 12 to allow adult
choice for motorcyclists 21 and older, providing they completed an accredited
motorcycle-safety course or had a minimum of 2 years riding experience.
Consiglio says the data proves conclusively that the helmet-law amendment had no
adverse effect on motorcycle safety.


(MI-Auto Sales)
Early indications are that car and truck sales for September will come in
roughly 12 percent over 2011. That could make it the strongest month in nearly
five years.
Chrysler lead the domestic car companies with a 12 percent sales increase.
Reid Bigland, President and CEO - Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales, says last
month marked Chrysler's 30th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases
and its strongest September in five years.
General Motors says its September sales rose 1.5 percent to 210,245 vehicles,
marking its best September since 2008, while Ford sales remained flat in
September compared to the same month a year ago.
Among foreign automakers, Toyota lead the way with a sales increase of 41.5
percent. Volkswagen saw a 34 percent sales increase.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit)


(GtLakes-Birkholz-Resigning)
Patricia Birkholz has resigned from her post as Director of the Office of the
Great Lakes, according to Governor Rick Snyder.
No reason was given for her decision to step down.
The Governor says that she'll be replaced by Consumers Energy executive Jon
Allan of East Lansing through an "executive on loan" program.
Allan most recently has been director of environmental policy and
intergovernmental affairs for Consumers Energy.
Snyder praised Birkholz' work as the Director of the office, which focused on
partnerships with local, state and federal groups and government bodies to
protect and improve the Great Lakes.
In a statement, the Governor said (quote) Patty Birkholz has long been a
champion for Michigans natural resources, and we thank her for her leadership in
this role....she will remain an important voice advising this administration and
we wish her well as she continues her work as a supporter of Michigans
environment and natural resources.
Allan begins on the job October 15th.


(Detroit-Tiger Fever)
The gift shop at Comerica Park opened at 5 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) to
several fans who were eager to snag limited edition memorabilia after the
Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central title Monday night.
The Tigers, paced by MVP front-runner Miguel Cabrera, beat the Kansas City
Royals 6-3 to clinch back-to-back division titles for the first time since the
1934-35 seasons.
Among the people catching playoff fever is Sydney Hunter, who was waiting at the
ball park to buy a special edition back-to-back championship t-shirt. He said
even if the Tigers dont win the World Series, winning the division for the
second consecutive year makes this season special enough.
Ann Newton also made it a point to be in downtown Detroit this morning to get
her collectibles, dropping over $500. She thinks the team has what it takes to
go all the way.
The Tigers (87-73) will have the worst record among AL division champions, which
means theyll open the playoffs Saturday at home against the division winner with
the second-best mark.
(Ron Dewey, WWJ, Detroit)


(Kent Co-Meijer Hiring)
West Michigan retail store chain Meijer is going to add 12-thousand jobs to
their locations for the holidays.
The Walker-based company says workers will be needed to meet demand at their
locations in five states across the midwest. Each store will average
approximately 60 new employees as part of the plan.
Those interested is applying for one of the jobs available can do so online at
www.meijer.com. Prospective employees can also fill out an application inside
the store.
(Metro Source)


(Lake Co-Escaped Inmates Search)
Two inmates who escaped from a prisoner re-entry program facility in northern
Michigan on Saturday remain on the loose.
Lake County Sheriff Deputies say after the escape 23-year old Gregory Allen
Bradshaw and 32-year old Kenneth Lee Grauman II stole two cars, and were
involved in two high-speed separate pursuits with Michigan State Police.
The two are from Allegan County and police said they are believed to have been
spotted near Dorr, south of Grand Rapids.
Grauman is a white male with red hair and blue eyes, standing about 5 feet 10
inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. Bradshaw is a white male with brown hair
and blue eyes, standing about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Grauman and Bradshaw should
contact 9-1-1 immediately.
Deputies say the pair are not considered dangerous.
(WBRN, Big Rapids)


(Barry Co-Bar Fight Death Trial)
The trial is underway for a Barry County man charged in connection with the
death of another man after an apparent bar fight earlier this year.
36-year old Merwin Sutherland of Woodland is charged with involuntary
manslaughter. 51-year old Randall Baker died a week after the pair got into an
altercation outside the Townhouse Tavern in Woodland on January 7th.
At the time of the arrest in April, Barry County Prosecutor Tom Evans said the
police report indicated that Sutherland punched Baker in the face; Baker fell to
the road, hit his head on the pavement and died of those injuries.
Sutherland faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.
(Jean Gallup, WBCH, Hastings)


(Grand Rapids-ArtPrize Entry Vandalized)
An in the Grand Rapids ArtPrize entry is severely damaged after someone
vandalized it last night (Monday).
Judy Rogers' entry "Love Is..." was installed on the north side of the David D.
Hunting YMCA downtown branch. A YMCA employee saw a man run up to the
eight-foot globe last night and begin hammering at the work, pushing and shoving
it until it broke off its stand.
The large, rotating sphere features drawings about love by Greenville elementary
school students and plays music by the school choir.
Police are checking to see if surveillance video from the area can help identify
the vandal, who witnesses said ran toward downtown after damaging the entry.
It's the second ArtPrize entry to be vandalized this year.
(Metro Source)


(Detroit-Sleeping Juror Dismissed)
A juror who has been reportedly falling asleep during testimony in the
corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been dismissed.
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds removed the woman this morning and
replaced her with the first alternate juror.
The prosecution expressed concerns about the woman as they began to present
their case last week. The woman allegedly dozed off on Thursday and Friday and
appeared to be sleeping again yesterday (Monday).
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, contractor Bobby Ferguson and former
Water Department head Victor Mercado are charged with racketeering, conspiracy,
extortion, bribery, fraud and tax evasion.
The indictment describes a brazen pay-to-play scheme in which Kilpatrick and his
father took kickbacks and bribes to steer city business to certain contractors,
especially Ferguson. Federal prosecutors call it the Kilpatrick enterprise.
(Metro Source)


(Jackson Co-Bounty Hunter Helps Search)
The search for a fugitive in Jackson county has taken on a celebrity status.
Famed bounty hunter Duane Dog Chapman and his wife, Beth, have been authorized
to work for a bail bond company in the hunt for convicted racketeer Ricky
Wheeldon.
Mason-based Leos Bail Bonds and its insurance company will have to pay Jackson
County $500,000 if Wheeldon is not apprehended by Wednesday.
The 53-year old Wheeldon was free on bond when he failed to return from a lunch
break on May 1 during the seventh day of his trial on charges of profiting from
the acquisition of large amounts of stolen property, for which he would pay
people in drugs and money.
In his absence, jurors found him guilty of nine felonies, including the
conducting of a criminal enterprise.
The exploits of the long-haired Chapman were featured on the A&E reality TV show
Dog the Bounty Hunter, which was canceled this year. A new show is to air next
year on CMT.


(Delta Co-Alcohol/Drugs Minors)
An Upper Peninsula man is accused of supplying booze and drugs to minors.
59-year-old Gary Masonick was arrested on Friday after police received a
complaint that he was supplying the alcohol and controlled substances at his
home in Gladstone.
According to reports, the youngest child involved is 11 years old and the oldest
is 16 years old.
Masonick was arraigned in a Delta County court on four counts of providing a
controlled substance to a minor. He's free on $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing
is set for October 11th.


(Montcalm Co-Patrol Hours Cut)
For the first time in 38 years, Montcalm County will not have 24 hour shifts for
its sheriff's department. The cuts were made due to a county deficit of over
$733,000. $345,000 is being taken from the Sheriff's Department budget.
A .6 mill proposal that would generate about $971,000 a year for 2 years is on
the November ballot. If approved, it would restore the 24 hour patrols for the
Sheriff's Department.
(WBRN, Big Rapids)


(Battle Creek-FireKeepers Hotel Reservations)
Anyone who wants be among the first to stay at the still-to-be completed
FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek can now sign up.
The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi says reservations are open to
secure a room in its new 242 room resort-style hotel which is expected to open
late this fall.
The hotel will have a stylish indoor pool, exercise facility, full service
restaurant with seating for up to 150 guests, and a functional multi-purpose
event center capable of hosting headline entertainment.
Reservations can be made by contacting the hotels customer care center at
877-FKC-8777 or online by visiting FireKeepersCasinoHotel.com. Reservations are
being accepted from December 15, 2012, and forward.
FireKeepers Casino has been open since August 2009.

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