Wednesday Afternoon State News Summary
Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:02:24 EST
Hundreds of schools across Michigan were closed for a second straight day today (Wednesday) as an artic chill continues to grip the state.
Single digit temperatures and northeast winds at 15 miles per hour with gusts to around 25 have sent wind chill readings plunging to 20 below to 30 below zero in northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
Lake effect snow will amount to an additional one to four inches along the lake Michigan shoreline and parts of the U.P.
The National Weather Service says Thursday will seem like heat wave as the winds lessen and temperatures reach highs near 20 in some areas.
We could know alot more about the possibility of a tribal gambling casino in Lansing, within a month, according to reports.
A federal judge in Grand Rapids says a ruling could be issued within thirty days. The court action is a result of Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette's legal attempt to stop the casino project.
Lawyers for both Michigan and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians were in federal court in Grand Rapids on Wednesday. The lawyers for the tribe argued that the Attorney General's suit should be dismissed.
Schuette says the casino, to be located five blocks east of the Capitol Building, violates both federal law as well as a tribal compact signed with the state.
Michigan's University Research corridor generated 15-point-5 (b) billion dollars in economic impact statewide, exceeded two (b) billion dollars in annual research expenditures and awarded more than 31-thousand, 600 degrees in one year.
That puts it at or near the top of seven university innovation clusters in the U-S, according to the report prepared by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group.
The corridor consists of Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.
Annual research and development spending grew in that corridor by 43 percent from 2007 to 2011, when it topped two (b) billion dollars for the first time.
Its R&D growth rate topped six other major university research clusters in five states, including well-known hubs such as North Carolinas Research Triangle Park, Californias Innovation Hubs and Massachusetts Route 128 Corridor.
The report showed that the URC universities conferred 31,683 graduate and undergraduate degrees in 2011, more than any of the university innovation clusters the URC has benchmarked itself against since 2007.
The URC also granted the second-highest number of high-demand degrees overall.
A Republican controlled State Senate committee today (Wed) approved a bill designed to prohibit federal regulation of Michigan-made firearms that stay within the state.
It's called the Michigan Firearms Freedom Act.
The effort comes as President Barack Obama is asking Congress to reinstate bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Under the Michigan legislative proposal however, firearms, ammunition or accessories that are manufactured and sold in Michigan would not be subject to federal regulations.
Also under the bill, "generic and insignificant parts and firearms accessories imported from another state would not subject a firearm to Federal interstate commerce regulation."
But opponents of the bill say it may be unconstitutional, and could very well wind up in court.
Michigan-based gun owner groups support the legislation.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Citing legal sources, newspaper reports in Detroit say that former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is likely to plead guilty next week to bank fraud charges related to questionable real estate transactions.
Hathaway resigned from the high court Monday.
She'll appear at 10:30 a.m. in U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara's Ann Arbor courtroom, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit.
The Detroit News cites legal experts who predict Hathaway likely will plead guilty to the fraud charge. They base that on the fact the charge was filed as a criminal "information," meaning the defendant has cut a deal with prosecutors before being arraigned.
(Lansing-Party Store Murder-UPDATE)
A man who was left paralyzed after being shot at a Lansing convenience store on New Year's Day is now facing charges for his alleged role in the shooting that left one man dead and three others injured.
24-year old Noe Arcaute was arraigned in his room at Lansing's Sparrow Hospital on open murder, three counts of assault with intent to murder and weapons charges. He remains in critical condition. A preliminary examination is scheduled for January 31.
29-year old Nicholas Jones of Lansing was killed in the barrage of gunfire at the Save On Market on the city's north side. Four other people, including Arcaute, were injured.
20-year-old Delon Miller of Lansing was arraigned on similar charges earlier this month. He's being held without bond at the Ingham County Jail.
Arcaute and Miller both face life in prison if convicted.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has removed a priest from his parish after an audit found questionable financial transactions at the church.
Father Edward Belczak (BEL-chahk) was temporarily relieved of his duties as pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Troy on Tuesday as church officials and police investigate the allegations. Belczak is accused of misappropriating over 400-thousand-dollars, including taking 92-thousand-dollars in excess compensation and diverting 240-thousand-dollars over the last six years to someone the Archdiocese calls a "ghost employee".
The 67-year-old Belczak remains a priest but cannot function as the parishs pastor or remain in residence at the parish until an administrative review process is completed. He was ordained in 1972 and has served as pastor of St. Thomas More since 1984.
(MI/IL-Double Murder Suspect-UPDATE)
The suspect in the murders of an elderly West Michigan couple has refused to waive his extradition hearing in Cook County, Illinois.
Javonte Higgins was arrested last week near Chicago, on warrants for home invasion and auto theft in the city of Wyoming. He's a suspect in the deaths of 81-year-old David Bouwman and his 80-year-old wife, Vivian who were found dead in their Kentwood home on January 5th. Their car was stolen and later found burned at a Wyoming apartment complex.
The 22-year-old Higgins refused to acknowledge the judge in Tuesday's hearing, and now the Kent County Prosecutor's Office will ask for a Governor's warrant to pursue his extradition.
Illinois authorities have scheduled another extradition hearing for late February, but Higgins could choose to waive it.
(Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids)
(Bay City-Bitter Cold-Water Pipes)
Bitter cold meant an early morning wake up call for some Bay City area residents.
A number of patients at the Carriage House Nursing Home, west of Bay City, were moved to other parts of the complex after a sprinkler system pipe burst about 2:00 this (Wednesday) morning. Monitor Township firefighters assisted the facility's staff in relocating residents and shutting the water supply to the sprinkler system.
Shortly after that, Bangor Township firefighters were called to an apartment complex near the Bay City Mall for a broken water pipe. Several apartments in the building were flooded. Bay Metro Transit was called to provide a bus for a shelter from the cold for people forced out of their apartments.
No injuries were reported from the two incidents.
(Bill Hewitt, WSGW, Saginaw)
(East Tawas-Downtown Fire)
A historic building in downtown East Tawas was destroyed by a fire Tuesday morning.
All fire crews from Iosco County and one from Arenac County were called to battle the blaze in the more than 125-year old building that was home to the Freel Law office and Chick'N Dots, a children's clothing store which was just recently remodeled.
Witnesses say the building collapsed in on itself, but no injuries were reported.
An adjoining real estate office was slightly damaged by the blaze.
Fire officials believe the fire was caused by a faulty electrical connection, however a state fire marshal's report will be forthcoming next week that will give more details about the cause.
(Marvin Walther, WIOS, Tawas City)
(Iron Mountain-Fatal Fire Cause)
Authorities have determined the cause of a house fire that killed a western Upper Peninsula man last week.
The Michigan State Police Fire Marshal Division says an electrical issue triggered the blaze that claimed the life of 66-year old Robert Davis of Iron Mountain on January 16. Davis was alone in the home at the time.
An autopsy determined that Davis died by smoke inhalation.
The Iron Mountain Police Department says it has concluded the investigation of the fire.
(Help from: Aaron Harper,WJNR/WOBE/WHTO, Iron Mountain)
(Fennville-Only Plow Down)
Winter took its time arriving in West Michigan, and the timing couldn't have been worse for the city of Fennville.
The city's only snow plow has broken down, and there's no money for a new one. The Allegan County Road Commission is loaning Fennville one of its plows to use this winter, as city officials say the repairs may be lengthy.
City crews also are using smaller plows on pickup trucks and a front-end loader to clear some residential streets and spreading salt by hand when necessary.
(Help from: Metro Source)
The Kalamazoo City Commission has passed a 6-month moratorium on LED billboards.
The billboard issue came up when Adams Outdoor Advertising asked for permission to replace some regular billboards in the city with lighted ones. Some citizens rallied against the change citing concerns over appearance, light pollution and safety.
The Commission says they will use the moratorium time to study the issue.
(WBCK, Battle Creek)
One person was killed and several others seriously injured in a multi-vehicle pile up along us-31 in Muskegon Tuesday.
Arriving emergency responders took 58 year old Robert Cutler of north Muskegon to a local hospital yesterday (Tuesday) where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.
Officers were called to the scene in the northbound lanes of the highway at around 10 oclock Tuesday morning to find that 15-to-20 vehicles had come together, blocking the roadway. The highway was closed for a period while police investigated, medical personnel treated the injured and clean up crews worked the scene. Several other motorists were seriously injured and taken to local hospitals for treatment. their names have not been released.
Officers from Fruitport Township and Norton Shores were also busy yesterday on northbound -31 responding to a number of crashes.
(Walt Zerlaut, WGHN, Grand Haven)