Friday Afternoon State News Summary
Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:07:42 EST
The January Revenue Estimating Conference at the Capitol is held to provide the Governor and the Michigan Legislature with enough information to write a budget for next fiscal year.
Because of tax policy changes last year, available revenues during the current fiscal year are reduced, but it is effectively compensated by the better than expected revenues from the just-finished fiscal year.
Net revenue for the general fund this year will be about eight-point-eight (b) billion dollars, according to the agreement, which is about five percent down from the previous year.
However, School Aid Fund revenues will be 11-point-three-(b) billion dollars, which is a two-point-three percent increase.
In the coming fiscal year, which begins in October, the conferees agreed that the general fund revenue will be nine-point-two-six (b) billion dollars and the school aid fund will be 11-point-43-(b) billion.
Even with a new law designating wolves as game animals in the state, a wolf hunt is not guaranteed in 2013.
Department of Natural Resources officials told the Natural Resources Commission on Thursday that if a wolf hunt does happen, it will likely be limited to areas with the most reports of wolves attacking livestock. Commission members warned that the department needs to be sure it can resolve those conflicts in other ways if the commission recommends against a wolf hunt.
DNR furbearer expert Adam Bump presented a process that would have recommendations for structuring a hunt by June. He said that would allow sufficient time to conduct a hunt before the end of the year if the commission does approve one.
Legislation approved during the lame duck session and signed into law by Governor Snyder last month would authorize the hunt and set license fees. But it leaves it to the commission to set the rest of the regulations for a wolf hunt. Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said the department would not go out of its way to recommend a hunt.
There are an estimated 700 wolves in Michigan, mainly residing in the western Upper Peninsula.
Right To Work will continue to be a part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's business advertising message despite the criticism from Democrats and liberal organizations over a Pure Michigan advertisement that ran this week in the Wall Street Journal.
President and CEO Michael Finney says the business brand of Pure Michigan featuring the green M routinely promotes the business-friendly climate in the state and policy changes that would attract site selectors and high-level business people. According to Finney, Michigan's new right-to-work status has opened up a lot of potential investors.
He says site selection experts have told the MEDC that some clients will not even consider a state without right-to-work status.
Finney says it was too soon to tell what kind of effect the advertisement has had or will have, but regardless, he merely continues to explain what the state can offer to businesses.
(Kentwood-Person Of Interest)
Police in West Michigan are looking for a 22-year-old man as a person of interest in a home invasion and the murders of an elderly couple last weekend.
Investigators stress Javonte Higgins is not yet considered a suspect, but has several outstanding felony warrants, and say his family is cooperating.
A search was conducted Thursday afternoon at a home about a half mile from the Kentwood home where 81-year-old David Bouwman and his 80-year-old wife, Vivian were found dead last Saturday morning. Higgins was not at the home, but was known to have lived there.
Investigators believe the couple were victims of an apparent home invasion.
Police also released a sketch of a suspect yesterday in the arson of the Bouwman's vehicle which police found in the city of Wyoming. He is a light-skinned black man in his 30s with a beard and standing around six feet tall.
Anyone with information on Higgins' whereabouts is encouraged to offer tips to Kentwood Police or by using Silent Observer. A reward fund has been established for leads that bring about arrests and convictions in the case.
(John C. Smith, WOOD, Grand Rapids/Metro Source)
Ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been put on a GPS tether and confined to his residence over concerns about cash he received through a wire transfer at an area Walmart last month.
The Michigan Department of Corrections is investigating a Chesterfield Township Walmart security tape that shows Kilpatrick counting out $2,000 in cash he accepted as a gift from pastor in Chicago. Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said Kilpatrick failed to report the money as income and not doing that could be a probation violation.
As part of his parole after serving his sentence in the text message scandal, the former mayor is required to disclose all gifts and forms of income to the state.
Kilpatrick, who moved to Texas two years ago, has reportedly been staying at his mothers house. If thats indeed the case, the home of Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick would be considered his residence for the purposes of the order.
Kilpatrick will be able to go to court for his federal corruption trial, meet with his lawyers and keep any pre-approved employment commitments, but he will not be allowed to travel to his home in Texas.
(WWJ, Detroit/Metro Source)
Ford Motor Company is poised to hire 2200 salaried workers this year. The company hasnt done this type of white-collar hiring in more than a decade.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, says as the Dearborn automaker expands its product lineup they need more people in critical areas - such as in a range of engineering activities, vehicle production, computer software and other IT functions.
Ford isnt saying how many of these jobs will be in Michigan. But the majority of Fords salaried employees are in the Detroit area.
All Ford salaried job openings are posted at www.careers.ford.com. The company will also use social media, including Facebook and Twitter to recruit the new workers.
The jobs are in addition to 8,100 combined hourly and salaried jobs added at Ford in 2012. Ford says its more than halfway to its goal of adding 12-thousand new jobs in the U.S. by the time its current contract with the UAW expires in 2015.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit)
(MI/NV-Miss Michigan Competes)
Miss Michigan will be competing for the title of Miss America this weekend.
24-year-old Angela Venditti of St. Clair Shores is among the 53 contestants taking part in this year's event at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
ABC is airing live coverage of the pageant starting at 9 p.m. Saturday night.
(Grand Haven-Power Back On)
Approximately 9,400 customers of the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power are returning to normal after the entire the customer grid south of the Grand River lost power overnight.
The city-owned utility's general manager Annette Allen says that a system failure at the Sims Plant on Harbor Island caused the interruption shortly before 11:30 last night (Thursday).
According to Allen, backup power which would normally have come in through the power grid was not available because Wolverine Power had their line down for upgrades.
The Grand Haven Tribune reports crews worked through the night to connect a bypass line to a spare cable under the Grand River.
All customers were back on line by 4:30 a.m.
(Help from: WGHN, Grand Haven)
(Romulus-Metro Drug Bust)
Nearly half a million dollars worth of heroin has been seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the bust happened on Tuesday, when agents working at the airport seized 1.8 kilograms of heroin from a Ghanaian citizen arriving from Amsterdam, Netherlands.
A CBP officers examination of the individuals belongings revealed a package containing heroin, with an estimated street value of $400,000.
The individual, whose identity was not immediately released, was arrested and turned over to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents. The U.S. Attorneys office will prosecute the case.
An investigation is ongoing.
(Berrien Co-No Cussing Charges)
The Berrien County Prosecutor says his office is not going to be prosecuting an Indiana woman for allegedly cussing in a court clerk's office in Niles.
Art Cotter says he doesn't think the contempt of court citation against LaRue Ford of South Bend can be legally sustained, but the county's chief judge still needs to rule on dismissing the case.
Ford was charged with contempt of court when she allegedly swore to herself in December while trying to get a nearly decade-old traffic ticket cleared up. She spent ten days behind bars after a judge changed the terms of her bond.
(WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)
(Lowell-Teen Found Safe)
The West Michigan teen who went missing last week without her medication has been found safe and returned home.
According to Kent County Sheriff deputies, 17-year old Ashley Worthington of Lowell did not return to her mother's home after a grocery trip on January 3. Two days later, Worthington was seen leaving a gas station in Lowell with two strangers who invited her to Grand Rapids.
Authorities do not suspect any foul play in her disappearance.
(Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids)
(Detroit-GM To Hire)
General Motors plans to hire 15-hundred people over the next four-years at its Warren Tech Center. It's part of a push by the automaker to employ software developers, project managers, database experts, business analysts and other I-T professionals at several locations across the country.
GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott says GM has hired more than 700-information technology employees at the Innovation Centers in Warren and Austin, Texas.
The automaker is making an effort to rebalance its information technology so a majority of the work will be done by G-M employees instead of being outsourced.