Thursday State News Summary
Thu, 29 Nov 2012 12:40:37 EST
the split 8-7 en banc ruling by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in
Cincinnati that throws out Michigan's voter-approved ban on affirmative action
in college admissions and public hiring.
The court ruled on November 15th that the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution overturning a
ruling by the U.S. District Court in Detroit upholding the amendment, known as
Proposal 2, which was approved by voters in the November 2006 election.
Schuette says the MCRI embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all
about: equal opportunity under the law, and that entrance to the state's
universities must be based upon merit.
He says the Appeals Court ruling declared boldly that not only does the U.S.
Constitution allow states to use racial and gender preferences in narrow
circumstances, it apparently mandates that states do so. Schuette says that
conclusion is misguided and should be reversed.


(Capitol-Health Exchange Rejected)
Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger says Michigan will not have its own
state-run health care exchange.
The comment came after the GOP-controlled Health Policy Committee this morning
(Thursday) in a vote of 5-9, rejected a Senate-passed bill which would create
the MiHealth Marketplace, a Travelocity-like website for consumers to compare
health insurance rates, under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Governor Rick Snyder had been planning to move ahead with a federal-state
partnership on the exchange, but said if House Republicans could overcome their
reservations about the bill to have a state-run exchange, that would be
preferable.
States were up against a December 14 deadline to notify the federal government
about plans for setting up exchanges.


(MI-Teacher Ratings)
A new report says 97 percent of Michigan's teachers are rated either "effective"
or "highly effective."
The state report, detailed today by the Detroit Free Press, says many of the
highly effective teachers are in the some of the state's worst-performing
schools.
The report covers the 2011-2012 school year.
It was the first year that districts had to report the effectiveness ratings,
according to Jan Ellis of the Michigan Department of Education.
According to the statistics, 48 of 146 of the state's worst performing schools
(ranked in the bottom five percent academically) rated all teachers either
"highly effective"or "effective."
Other possible categories were "minimally effective" and "ineffective."
The Free Press story also notes however that more teachers in those low
performing (also called "priority" schools) were rated in the bottom categories,
compared to other schools.
There are about 96-thousand teachers in Michigan public schools.


(MI-Michigan Powerball Winners)
State Lottery officials say Michigan may not have had the jackpot winner in last
nights Powerball drawing, but over 300,000 lucky Michigan players were winners
of prizes ranging from $4 to $1 million.
The winning numbers were 05-16-22-23-29 and Powerball 06.
Two players matched all but the Powerball number in Wednesdays drawing to win $1
million each. The millionaire-making tickets were sold at a CVS Pharmacy in
Dearborn and a liquor store in Kentwood.
In addition to the two $1 million winning tickets, there winners in Michigan
ranging from 169,099 $4 winners who matched just the Powerball to 18 $10,000
winners who matched four white balls plus the Powerball.
Officials say the Lottery collected $20.1 million in Powerball sales for
Wednesdays drawing, setting a record for that game.
The Powerball jackpot of $587.5 million was the largest ever in the games
history and was split between winning tickets in Missouri and Arizona.


(MI-Fatal Fires)
Separate fires early this morning (Thursday) have claimed two lives in Michigan.
Fire officials in Battle Creek say one person is dead and a child is in the
hospital in critical condition after a fire that police suspect was arson.
Battle Creek Police and Fire crews responded to the scene at around 2:00 A.M.
and rescued the 8-year old girl from the burning home. She was taken to a
hospital in Kalamazoo. Another person is reported as killed. Names have not been
released.
In the Upper Peninsula, one person was killed when a mobile home was engulfed by
flames shortly after 5:00 A.M. in Marquette Township. Police said they think
the victim was an adult but the gender has not been determined.
The cause of both fires are under investiation.
(Help from: WBCK, Battle Creek)


(Kent Co-Fatal Fire Sentence)
A West Michigan man has been sentenced to between 30-100 years in prison for
setting a house fire that killed a tenant.
Sixty-two-year-old Michael Piranian pleaded guilty in October to second-degree
murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
24-year old Kori Van Hulle died in March after she was unable to escape from a
rental unit in Sparta.
Kent County detectives said Piranian beat another woman with a metal pipe while
she slept in her bed after setting a fire to the home and intended to kill her
and another person. Instead, he killed Van Hulle who was trapped in the basement
of the home.


(Detroit-Freeway Opens)
Police say a truck driver apparently fell asleep behind the wheel this morning
(Thursday) on westbound I-94 in Detroit.
The vehicle hit the concrete median and launched the cab of the truck into the
eastbound lanes. A fire broke out scorching the cab, trailer and a railroad
overpass on I-94. Traffic was shut down in both directions for several hours.
Eastbound lanes were cleared by mid-morning, while the westbound lanes were
finally re-opened shortly before 11 a.m.
The driver reportedly only sustained a broken ankle.
(Metro Source)


(MI-Medical Marijuana Charges)
Michigan's medical marijuana law has been put to the test again on both sides of
the state.
A Lansing judge has thrown out all charges filed by the state Attorney Generals
office against four employees of two medical marijuana facilities just as the
state is charging six people connected to medical marijuana businesses in St.
Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola counties in Michigan's Thumb.
According to the Lansing State Journal, 54A District Court Judge Hugh Clarke Jr.
dismissed felony drug-dealing charges against the employees of two HydroWorld
locations in Lansing saying that the states medical marijuana law screams for
legislative clarification in numerous areas.
The Attorney Generals office filed the charges after undercover officers were
able to purchase marijuana even though they didnt have state-issued medical
marijuana cards. Judge Clarke said that, based on a recent Michigan Supreme
Court ruling, certification by a doctor is sufficient.
The Times Herald of Port Huron reports the case on the east side of the state
stems from an investigation and raids last December of the Blue Water Compassion
Centers, which authorities say violated drug laws.
Michigan voters in 2008 approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons, but
parts of the law are being challenged.


(Ann Arbor-Insider Trading Scheme)
The University of Michigan medical professor accused of being involved in an
insider trading scheme has resigned. School officials say Sidney Gilman
submitted his retirement notice on Tuesday.
The 80-year-old Alzheimer's Disease expert is accused of providing nonpublic
information to a portfolio manager that led to massive, multi-million-dollar
trades.
Gilman's lawyer says he has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the
SEC and is cooperating with the federal investigation.
(Help from: Metro Source)


(Saginaw Twp-Missing Woman-UPDATE)
Police investigating the disappearance of a Saginaw Township woman were
waiting to confirm the identity of a woman's body found Wednesday afternoon in
Midland County's Edenville Township.
The body was found near the home of a man who shot himself to death Tuesday as
Midland County Sheriff deputies approached his house.
The home's phone number was the last one 45-year-old Leigh Swanson had used to
call her mother, two days after she left her Saginaw Township home November 16th
to go on a date with a man she'd met online.
Midland County Sheriff Jerry Nielson says they're trying to put all the pieces
together to determine whether the woman's body was that of Swanson. He says
they're still asking for any tips from the public that could help with the
investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Midland County Sheriff's office at
989-839-4620 or Saginaw Township Police at 989-793-2310.
(WSGW, Saginaw)


(Grand Rapids-Gilda's Club)
Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids will not change its name, following a national
controversy over affiliate club names.
Some clubs had decided to change names from Gilda's Club, in honor of comedian
Gilda Radner, to match the parent group, Cancer Support Community.
The national director has said that the name Gildas Club could confuse younger
patients unaware of the legacy of Gilda Radner and affiliate clubs do not need
to change names in order to still be a part of the network.
The Saturday Night Live star died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
(Help from: Metro Source)


(Holland-Power Plant Delay)
The Holland City Council is going to wait a bit longer before deciding whether
to move ahead with a planned 182-million dollar natural gas-fired generating
plant.
The council decided to postpone a decision on the project until next Wednesday's
meeting.
The 114-megawatt facility would be the primary source of electric power
generation after several coal-fired units at the plant on Lake Macatawa are
phased out.
(Metro Source)


(Genesee Co-Sexual Assault Infant)
A Flint area man has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting an
infant.
Daniel Hall was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct, child
sexually abusive activity, distributing child sexually abusive materials and
communicating with another person over the internet to commit a crime.
The 25-year-old was sentenced Wednesday in Genesee County Circuit Court. Judge
Geoffrey Neithercut also ordered Hall's wife, Alisha Hall, to serve 25-40 years
in prison. Jurors convicted her of photographing the abuse.
Police have said they found more 700 images of child pornography on computers in
the couple's home. They say 13 pictures showed Daniel Hall engaging in sex acts
with a baby.
(WSGW, Saginaw)

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