Thursday Morning State News Summary
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 01:47:40 EDT
State health officials say the number of confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in Michigan associated with an outbreak linked to a recalled steroid medication given to people who got injections for back pain is now at 29, including three deaths.
The Department of Community Health says the age range of current identified cases is 46-89 years old. The three deaths were a 56-year old woman from Genesee County, a 67-year old Livingston County woman and a 78-year old woman from Washtenaw County.
All the cases are linked to the four facilities in Michigan that received the potentially contaminated product prepared by a specialized pharmacy in Massachusetts. They are Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc, Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation in Traverse City and Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren.
Nationwide, 137 cases and 12 deaths have been reported from 10 states including Michigan. Health officials say the number of cases is expected to increase.
The Michigan Supreme Court has formally opened its 2012 session and today (Thursday), it will her oral arguments on two controversial medical marijuana cases.
In one case (People v McQueen), the court will decide whether Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act allows registered patients and caregivers to transfer and or sell medical marijuana to patients they are not linked with, through the state's registry program.
The Isabella County prosecutor argues that a dispensary doing business as Compassionate Apothecary was a public nuisance and violated the state's public health code.
A circuit court disagreed with the prosecutor and refused to issue and injunction, then the Court of Appeals overtured the Circuit Court decision.
In a second case, a man was arrested for having 88 marijuana plants, even though he was authorized to have only 24, but he argued that the rest belonged to other patients, and a 'common growing area' was allowed under the law, as long as it was secured as dictated by the law.
But the trial court rejected his argument, and that decision was later affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
(MI/DC-Romney Doesn't Need Michigan)
A spokesperson for the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says Michigan is not a must win state for Romney.
Romney's deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage told the Detroit News yesterday (Wednesday) that, quote, There are some places that we really feel we have to win in order to win this election. There are many paths for us that get to the White House - they don't all go through Michigan for us." But, she adds, "For Barack Obama they do. So we want to make sure that he's got to fight for it and he can't just take it for granted."
Neither Romney nor Obama have spent any money on TV advertising in Michigan.
While Romney, who was born in Detroit, has repeatedly vowed to aggressively compete to win, he has not been in the state since August.
Obama was last in Michigan in April, making it the first time since 1980 that both candidates skipped the state in September.
(MI-Ann Romney-Clinton Campaign)
The Republican presidential ticket is showing signs that they are not conceding Michigan to President Obama, as had been speculated a few weeks ago.
Ann Romney will campaign in West Michigan on Friday, though just where has not been nailed down. She is the wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and like the former Massachusetts governor, is a native of Michigan.
Former President Bill Clinton will also be in the state Friday as he campaigns at a reception in the Detroit area for President Barack Obama and incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
(MIPoll-Moroun Least Popular)
Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun is the least popular among Michigan voters of any political figure tested, according to a new poll.
The survey was done by Lansing-Based Michigan Resource Group which works on behalf of those supporting a new public-private Detroit-Canada bridge.
Only 5 percent of voters have a favorable impression of Moroun, who is backing Proposal 5 requiring a two-thirds legislative vote on tax increases and Proposal 6 requiring a vote of the people on international bridges. 25 percent have an unfavorable impression of Moroun.
Paul King, director of Research for MRG, says the perception of Moroun could have an effect on how voters view his ballot proposals. He says their poll shows Proposal 6 leading by 13 percent statewide, but losing 46 percent to 45 percent in the Detroit suburbs where Moroun's negative perception is the highest.
President Barack Obama polled the best, with 52 percent giving him a favorable rating and 44 percent giving him an unfavorable rating. Governor Rick Snyder's favorables are at 43 percent and his unfavorables are at 40 percent.
Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has a favorability rating of 45 percent and unfavorables of 40 percent. Her opponent, GOP nominee Pete Hoekstra has favorables of 32 percent and unfavorables of 30 percent.
The poll was conducted September 10 to 15 among 600 likely voters statewide, including 20 percent with cell phones only. The margin of error was 4 percent.
Colder temperatures have slowed the number of reported cases of West Nile virus in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Health says, as of October 5th, there have been 185 human cases of the virus this year, including 10 deaths, making 2012 the state's worst year for West Nile since 2002.
But no new deaths and relatively few cases have been reported since late September.
Department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says cases have dramatically slowed as colder weather reduces the population of mosquitoes that carry the disease.
Minicuci attributes this years West Nile spike, at least in part, to the hot, dry summer that created an ideal environment for mosquitoes, which transmit the virus.
(MI-Child Abuse Registry)
Four Michigan residents are suing to have their names removed from the state's Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect and to end the registry as it currently operates.
Gongwer news service reports that Deborah Turner, Tracie Stempien, Helen Miller, and Timothy Medley filed the action in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan claiming that each had been improperly added to the registry and had been thwarted in their attempts to be removed from the listing.
The lawsuit alleges that, as the registry is currently designed, people are added to the list with only a finding from a Children's Protective Services worker that they could pose a danger to children... and not a formal hearing.
The complaint says the registry amounts to a 'life sentence' of being labeled a child abuser that adversely impacts employment and education, charity and child-rearing, noting that the list can be used for background checks by public and private employers and other organizations.
The lawsuit asks that the four plaintiffs be removed from the listing, and that the registry as it currently operates be declared unconstitutional because it does not provide those listed with sufficient due process.
Revenues into state coffers were up in September compared to the same period last year, according to estimates by the House Fiscal Agency (HFA).
The HFA says General Fund revenue is up 30 (M) million-dollars and School Aid Fund revenue is up 5 (M) million-dollars through September.
It's estimated that total revenues are 77.8 (M) million-dollars, a 0.4 percent increase compared to revenues in September 2011.
The figures show Income Tax revenue collections are up 9.7 percent compared to the consensus estimate of 8.5 percent. But combined Sales and Use taxes had only a 2.1 percent growth rate compared to the consensus rate of 5.1 percent and Business tax collections are down 26.4 percent so far this fiscal year.
Fiscal Year 2012 ended October 1st but final revenue collections for will not be determined until the state's final book-closing in December.
General Motors is rolling out 13 all-new or redesigned Chevrolet vehicles next year. A spokesman for the automaker at Detroit's Renaissance Center today told the Detroit Free Press 2013 will be quote "a big year for Chevrolet."
GM plans to start selling the all-new type of Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck, as well as the reconfigured Chevy Impala full-size sedan.
Officials say the new models for next year include the earlier announced Impala, a new Traverse crossover, a diesel version of the Cruz compact car plus an electric type of the Spark.
Former Republican Governor William Milliken has thrown his support to the November ballot proposal that would require increasing Michigan's renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025.
Milliken said in a statement that the opportunity of renewable energy in Michigan is important enough that the 25 percent renewable policy should have the long-term certainty of Constitutional protection. The statement was released by Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, the group leading the effort to pass the proposal.
Milliken added that the kind of collaborative spirit needed for such a change is "hard to come by these days in Lansing" and as a result Michigan is falling behind other states when it comes to renewable energy.
Milliken served as governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983 and carved a reputation as an environmentalist who signed into law most of the state's basic environmental protection laws.
(Jackson Co-Bank Robbers)
Three people have been arrested and police are searching for a fourth suspect in at least two recent bank robberies in Jackson County.
20-year old Kesean Wilson and 17-year old Breanna Crawford are both charged with armed robbery and bank robbery stemming from a holdup at the Jackson City County Credit Union in Summit Township on Wednesday morning.
Wilson was also charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and a felony firearm charge.
59-year old Roger Ozier and 21-year old Darius Griffin face armed robbery and bank robbery charges in connection to a separate robbery at Aeroquip Credit Union in Jackson on Monday. Griffin is on the loose but police believe he is still in the area.
According to the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, the pair may be connected to other recent robberies at banks and credit unions.
(Albion-Hit By Train)
A 23-year-old Albion was in critical condition at a Kalamazoo hospital after being struck by a train yesterday (Wednesday) while crossing the tracks.
Officers called to the accident scene at 9:50 a.m, found Ervin Hunter beneath the train's ninth car. Hunter had been dragged under the train about 100 feet down the tracks.
He was flown by helicopter to the Kalamazoo hospital. It's reported that he has lost at least on limb in the accident.
Investigators believe Hunter, who was riding a bicycle, was attempting to beat the train.
(Van Buren Co-Palisades Owners Sue)
The parent company of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Van Buren County's Covert Township is suing the federal government. The lawsuit by Entergy against the U.S. Department of Energy has been revealed after being filed in late September.
Spokesman Mark Savage says the federal government was supposed to start taking care of the plant's nuclear waste in early 1998, but hasn't even though Entergy has paid substantial fees to remove and dispose of the fuel.
Savage claims that until the federal government develops a disposal solution, used nuclear fuel will continue to be stored safely at each plant, including Palisades and Consumers Energy's Big Rock Point decommissioned plant near Charlevoix which is also included in the lawsuit.
Savage said Entergy estimates it has spent about $100 million on storage at Palisades -- money the company hopes to win from the Energy Department.
(Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids/Metro Source)
A 34-year-old man was electrocuted after he allegedly tried to steal copper wire from a transformer on top of a power pole in Detroit.
Police say the incident occurred sometime overnight on the city's west side and the man was hanging from the pole for several hours. Investigators say the man and two others who were allegedly with him are well known in the area for stealing copper.
A DTE crew was called in and had to turn power to the area off before they could remove the man. His name was not released. (Metro Source)
(Fennville-One Officer Police Department)
The sleepy West Michigan town of Fennville will soon have its very own police force, of one.
The city commission on Tuesday approved the new department which is set to open on January 1st. Fennville has a contract with Allegan County for one sheriff's deputy, but hiring its own officer will save the town about 27-thousand dollars per year.
The job will pay 65-thousand dollars annually and applications are being accepted.
There were no winning tickets sold in Wednesday's Classic Lotto 47 game.
That means Saturday's jackpot will be worth one-point-one (M) million dollars.
The numbers drawn Wednesday were: 02, 16, 31, 37, 40, and 43.
The Powerball numbers from last night: 18-26-29-35-43.
The power ball was 28.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Wednesday were: 5-6-8.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 1-2-8-2.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 0-0-7.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were: 2-9-0-2.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 08-15-16-23-30.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 06, 12, 17, 22, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39, 45, 47, 48, 51, 55, 59, 61, 64, 65, 71, 76, 80.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot will be worth at least $53 (M) million dollars.
Saturday's Powerball jackpot will be worth $60 (M) million dollars.