Tuesday Morning State News Summary
Tue, 05 Feb 2013 02:00:08 EST
(MI-Electric Choice)
State regulators say Alternative Electric Suppliers served just over 6,800
electric choice customers throughout the state in 2012, compared to 7,000 in
2011. This represents approximately 2,000 MegaWatts of electric demand, about
the same as 2011.
The Michigan Public Service Commission in its annual report says commercial and
industrial customers accounted for all of the participation in the electric
choice programs during 2012. But as of December, approximately 10,450 customers
including residential remain in the queue. Consumers Energys queue of choice
customers grew 57 percent in 2012. Detroit Edisons waiting list rose 74 percent.
State law caps electric choice at 10 percent of an electric utility's average
weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding year. Both Consumers Energy and
Detroit Edison service territories were fully subscribed at the cap throughout
2012.
Last year marked the first time that customers of Indiana Michigan Power Company
and Upper Peninsula Power Company participated in the program.


(MI-Sandy-Damaged Cars)
Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued a consumer alert advising Michigan
residents to exercise caution before purchasing their next used car to avoid
being scammed into purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle.
The warning comes amid an influx of flood-damaged vehicles on the national
automotive market in the wake of Superstorm Sandy's devastation.
Schuette says prospective buyers should do their homework to avoid being duped
by dealers selling refurbished cars without mentioning prior flood damages
caused by Superstorm Sandy.
The A.G. says before buying a vehicle seek an independent inspection; research
the vehicle's history to find out if it was in a flood region or issued a
salvage title; be aware of flood damage signs such as a mold smell, residue in
the trunk, or premature rusting where it is not expected; review the vehicle's
paper title before purchase looking for terms like "flood," "salvage," or other
brands labeling the car as damaged.
Schuette says never assume a clean title proves the vehicle is undamaged adding
that the title may have been 'laundered' across state lines or altered to
conceal the brand.
Complaints can be filed with the Secretary of State, Bureau of Information
Security Regulatory Monitoring Division or by contacting the Attorney General's
Consumer Protection Division.


(MI-Flags Lowered)
Governor Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff within
the state Capitol Complex and at state buildings, grounds and facilities on
Thursday in honor of a Kalamazoo-area native who died last month from injuries
suffered in Afghanistan.
Army Sergeant Mark Schoonhoven, formerly of Plainwell, died January 20 at Brooke
Army Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He was injured on December 15 when
insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kabul.
The 38-year old Schoonhoven was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company,
43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado. He
attended Plainwell High School.
Schoonhoven was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is the first
Michigan soldier killed in the war this year.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday at the Winkel Funeral
Home in Otsego. The funeral service will be 11 a.m., Thursday at St. Margaret
Catholic Church in Otsego.
Flags should be returned to full-staff on Friday.


(MI-BAMN Affirmative Action)
A Detroit activist group is supporting State Attorney General Bill Schuette's
request that the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in on the issue of Michigan's
constitutional amendment that bans the use of race, gender or ethnicity in
college admissions.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November struck down the 2006
voter-approved constitutional amendment known as the Michigan Civil Rights
Initiative ruling that it violates the equal protection clause of the U.S.
Constitution.
Attorney General filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the
ruling.
Mlive.com reports BAMN (the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration
and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary), the group
that filed the lawsuit challenging the ban, supports that request.
On Monday, BAMN filed a brief also asking the high court to review the decision.
The group hopes that if the ruling is upheld, it would strike down similar
affirmative action bans in California, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and
Washington.


(Clinton Co-Teen Kills Sister)
A 14-year old Lansing-area boy accidentally shot and killed his sister over the
weekend.
Police say the incident happened Saturday afternoon in Clinton County's Ovid
Township. 13-year-old Paige McGinnis died after she was shot once in the head.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Sheriff Department says her brother was handling a shotgun in the home when
it discharged. The boy told investigators he didn't think the gun was loaded.
The investigation continues.


(Grand Rapids-Southwest Grand Rapids Flights)
Southwest Airlines will be adding flights at Gerald R. Ford International
Airport in Grand Rapids.
Starting August 11th, Southwest will add two new nonstop destinations -- Denver
and St. Louis -- to a local nonstop service that already includes Orlando and
Baltimore. Direct flights will include destinations like Atlanta, Chicago,
Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas and New York.
Travel agent Joanne Kochneff says the new service by Southwest will bring good
news for air travelers who act quickly since it opens up the possibility for
lower air-fare at least for the initial couple months. Kochneff says if you see
a good deal on air fare, think about booking the flight noting that in other
cities, those special air fares don't last.
Kochneff also says while Southwest used to shy away from extra fees for air
travelers, they too have joined the list of airlines charging for things such as
pre-boarding and window seats.
Tickets are on sale now at southwest.com. Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran
Airways in January of last year.
(John Bry, WOOD, Grand Rapids/Metro Source)


(Detroit-Ladder Use)
Detroit firefighters will not be using the hydraulic ladders on aerial trucks
anytime soon.
An order by Fire Commissioner Donald Austin is preventing firefighters from
using the equipment unless there is a quote "immediate threat to life." Austin
says the trucks have not undergone the required safety inspections for years and
pose a danger to his firefighters.
The commissioner says the new rule will not greatly impact firefighting efforts,
but the head of the Detroit Firefighters Union says it will minimize the ability
to put out fires over a couple of stories high. Inspections on the rigs are
expected to be done in the next six weeks.
(Metro Source)


(Kalamazoo-Bacterial Meningitis Death)
A Kalamazoo College student from West Bloomfield is dead from complications due
to bacterial meningitis.
WXYZ-TV reports 19-year-old Emily Stillman died Sunday morning.
The college sophomore had been taken to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo early
Friday morning after getting sick.
Officials are educating anyone who came in close contact with her about
bacterial meningitis and treatment.
(Metro Source)


(Muskegon-Enticing Babysitter)
A Muskegon man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to persuade a teenage
girl he met on Craigslist to participate in an adult film.
22-year-old Joseph Geissinger was arraigned on January 25th on felony charges
for allegedly trying to entice a 16-year-old Muskegon girl, who had placed an
advertisement on the Internet classified advertising site, Craigslist, looking
for a babysitting opportunity.
Geissinger had responded to the babysitting advertisement offering money to an
undercover officer posing as the 16-year-old girl to participate in an adult
film.
He was arrested on January 24th outside a Muskegon residence, where he thought
he was meeting the 16-year-old girl.
Geissinger faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.


(Madison Heights-Husband Suicide)
Police in Madison Heights are investigating a rare event in that suburb - a
shooting death.
Deputy Chief Corey Haines says a 31-year-old Warren man fired on his estranged
wifes boyfriend early Sunday morning outside her trailer home on Annapolis.
He missed, and thats when, Haines says, James Richardson turned the gun on
himself.
Haines says Richardson called a friend and threatened to shoot the boyfriend
after hearing him in the background while he was on the phone with his estranged
wife.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(South Haven-Grocery Embezzlement)
The former comptroller of a South Haven-based grocery chain is facing up to 20
years in federal prison if he's convicted of embezzling over $6 million from the
company.
The Justice Department accuses Christopher Pratt of stealing the money to
finance a fleet of muscle cars from 2004 until last year. The scheme was
uncovered last May, leading to his firing from the Village Market.
The FBI continues to investigate, and federal agents expect the 41-year-old
Pratt will be in federal court in Grand Rapids to be arraigned within the next
few weeks. A spokesman for the Justice Department expects Pratt will plead
guilty around the time of his arraignment.
(Mike Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)


(Three Rivers-American Axle Expansion)
Officials from American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings have announced a $100
million investment in its Three Rivers plant, which is expected to create 500
new jobs at the site in southwest Michigan.
The news comes on top of the addition of 300 new jobs the company said it added
in Three Rivers last year.
Company officials said the addition centers on new technology, specifically the
companys patented EcoTrac Disconnecting All-Wheel Drive system.
The new jobs will bring American Axles workforce to about 1,300 by the time the
new hires are brought aboard, a process expected to be completed in September.
(WLKM, Three Rivers)


(Detroit-Larry Nevers Dies)
Former Detroit police officer, Larry Nevers, has died Sunday night at Henry Ford
Macomb hospital.
Nevers was well-known in metro Detroit and across as the country as the cop
convicted with fellow officer Walter Budzyn in the beating death of suspect
Malice Green in 1992. It came the year after the Rodney King cop beating sparked
riots in Los Angeles.
Nevers was convicted of striking Green, who was holding a rock of crack cocaine,
more than a dozen times in the head with his police-issued flashlight.
Nevers later penned the book Good Cops, Bad Verdict, in 2006, where he wrote
racial politics caused his conviction. Nevers and Budzyn were white, Green was
black.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(Allegan Co-Saugatuck-Douglas Merger)
The proposed merger of Saugatuck and Douglas in Allegan County seems likely to
be headed to a ballot.
Eighty-eight signatures are needed. The petition has already been signed by more
than 300 residents in the two small cities. The deadline to get the names to
Lansing is February 19th.
Groups on both sides of the issue already have formed. Citizens for Independent
and Cooperative Communities questions whether there would be significant savings
in a merger. Supporters say the savings could be $500,000 a year.
Saugatuck and Douglas are hiring the independent Citizens Research Council of
Michigan to complete a study by April.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids/WGHN, Grand Haven)


(Macomb Co-Rats Reward)
Catch a rat and pocket five bucks.
That's part of the new proposed plan in St. Clair Shores. If city council
approves the rodent abatement plan, supporters say it could help rid the city of
countless rodents and help some folks pay a bill or two.
Opponents, though, say they don't want people to handle or store dead rats.
They also express concerns about people bringing in rats from other cities just
to collect the cash.
(Metro Source)


(Grand Rapids-Tax Software)
The last minute changes to the tax codes due to the fiscal cliff are causing
some unique problems with the most popular brands of tax return software. Many
Grand Rapids residents are getting error messages on their city tax returns,
something City Income Tax Administrator John Schaut says is going to require a
little waiting.
Schaut says his office doesn't have the manpower to enter the information
manually for the hundreds of taxpayers who have called his office, which is why
he is urging patience. Software firms are scrambling to enter the new
information, and say they will have the issue fixed as soon as they can.
(Metro Source)


(Mon-Lottery)
Tonight's (Tue) Mega Millions lotto game jackpot is worth $19 (M) million
dollars.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery were: 0-1-6.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were:   1-5-6-3.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were:   9-7-1.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were:   9-3-7-3.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were:   06-08-15-35-37.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 04, 08, 11, 12, 13, 23, 27, 36,
38, 40, 42, 47, 48, 49, 53, 57, 61, 70, 75, 76, 78, 80.
Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is worth $208 (M) million dollars.
Wednesday's Classic Lotto 47 jackpot is worth five-point-four (M) million
dollars.

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