Thursday Morning State News Summary
Thu, 07 Feb 2013 01:18:33 EST
(Capitol-Gov-Budget)
Governor Rick Snyder today (Thurs) unveils his third state budget proposal, expected to total about 48 (b) billion dollars, including federal funds.
He's expected to ask for what reportedly is an "additional investment" in education spending, although supporters of education funding doubt it will be anywhere near what they're looking for.
In the meantime, he'll also include new federal funding for medicaid, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. The new funding will bring more than a half (m) million uninsured into health care coverage.
Significant spending increases are not likely, as state economists meeting last month at a revenue estimating conference in Lansing said they found nothing to indicate the kind of revenue that would allow for such spending.
The Governor today (thurs) is expected to repeat his recent call for a significant increase in transportation funding.


(Capitol-Internet-Sales-Tax)
They're trying again.
Retailers in Michigan locked arms with some State House Republicans in Lansing, to take another stab at requiring out-of-state, online retailers like Amazon to start collecting sales taxes on items they sell to Michigan residents.
Similar efforts in earlier years have gained a certain amount of momentum, but failed to reach final approval in the legislature.
Supporters of the new legislation note that during the recent holiday shopping season, online sales rose 11 percent in the U-S, compared to a three percent increase in sales at regular 'brick and mortar' retailers in the state.
They say those 'brick and mortar' retailers in Michigan can't compete with retailers who don't have to charge a sales tax.
The proposed bills will be heard in a legislative committee soon.


(Snyder-Medicaid Expansion)
Governor Rick Snyder has thrown his support behing the expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program to those with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Snyder says his fiscal year 2014 budget recommendation includes an expansion of Michigan’s Medicaid program, benefitting about 320,000 residents in the first year alone. More than 470,000 will be covered by 2021, reducing the amount of Michigan’s uninsured by about 46 percent.
The expansion is allowed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and would be funded by the federal government through 2017 with the federal government’s share gradually declining to 90 percent beginning in 2020.
Snyder says failure to go through with the expansion would mean that Michigan tax dollars will go to cover health care costs for other states that do take part.
He says the expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save taxpayer dollars. A recent study estimates that Michigan will save $351 million by 2022.
The governor’s budget recommendation calls for a deposit of 50 percent of the savings achieved from the expansion to be deposited into a special health savings account for the first seven years to help cover the increased share of the costs when the federal government scales back its funding.


(MI-Mega Millions Winner)
Someone in the western Upper Peninsula could be walking around with $19 million in their pocket.
Michigan Lottery officials say one ticket that matched all six numbers for Tuesday evening’s multi-state Mega Millions drawing was sold at Festival Foods in Houghton.
The winning numbers drawn were two, five, 10, 26 and 44. The Mega Ball number was 46.
Officials say the winner must contact the Lottery's Public Relations Division at (517) 373-1237 to set up an appointment to claim the prize.
Mega Millions is played in 41 other states plus the District of Columbia and the U. S. Virgin Islands.


(Detroit-I-75 Crashes Probe)
Michigan State Police are now saying there were a total of 43 vehicles involved in 12 separate crashes over a mile-long stretch of I-75 last week as a snow squall produced white out and icy road conditions.
The “nightmare” pileup that happened last Thursday is responsible for claiming the lives of three people: a 7-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl from Canada, and 54-year-old Larry Manolis of Allen Park. The children are believed to be brother and sister, although their identities have not been released.
Twelve or more people were transported to area hospitals, most with back, neck and head injuries. At least two of those hospitalized were reported in critical condition.
Multiple cars were seen crushed up against the median and some motorists, at one point, were trapped in their cars. Several vehicles were overturned and twisted metal littered the freeway.
A stretch of southbound I-75 was shut down for several hours while police tried to figure out exactly what led to the massive series of crashes.
Troopers say that they have now completed all of the investigations, except for inquiries into the two fatal crashes - for which they are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results and vehicle inspections.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(Detroit-Kilpatrick Defense Rests)
The federal corruption trial of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and a city contractor will be going to the jury.
The defense rested their case Wednesday without any of the defendants taking the witness stand. The jury will likely hear closing arguments on Monday and could begin deliberations later in the day.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson are accused in what prosecutors have framed as a sweeping conspiracy to fix city contracts and shake down businesses. The government said the then-mayor pocketed bribes and also used a nonprofit fund as a slush fund for his personal use.
The two Kilpatricks and Ferguson each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on racketeering, bribery and tax charges.
Kwame Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.
(Help from: WWJ, Detroit)


(Ann Arbor-UM Pensions Study)
The proportion of working Americans with pensions of any kind has steadily decreased since 2001, according to a University of Michigan analysis that suggests trouble ahead for U.S. seniors.
U-M economist Frank Stafford said the decline in the percent of employed workers with defined benefit pensions was actually expected.
He says everyone knows pensions are a thing of the past. But, he says, they also found that participation in defined contribution plans declined, going from 33 percent of employed men in 1999-2001 to 30 percent in 2007-2009. The opposite of what they expected.
Stafford is the co-author of a paper which analyzes data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. households conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research since 1968.
During the period studied, researchers interviewed the same families every two years, obtaining a continuous look at how changes in the U.S. economy, notably the economic declines after 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008, affected how families handled their IRAs, annuities, 401(k)s and other financial sources of defined contribution pensions.
They found that many families treat these retirement accounts as sources of ready cash for current needs and discretionary spending rather than as sources of income in retirement. About six percent of young adults ages 25 to 44 reported cashing in some of their pension money. And at age 59½ - when early withdrawal penalties are removed - about 15 percent withdrew from their accounts, a proportion about equal to the rate of withdrawal those ages 65 and 66.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(MI-George Hart Obit)
Former State Senator George Hart, who was also known as the "Singing Senator" has died at the age of eighty-eight.
Hart, who was first elected to the Michigan Senate in 1978 to represent Dearborn and served through 2002, died on January 31st, according to a family member.
Gongwer news service reports that Hart gained his reputation both for his local appearances at Dearborn events and his eagerness to break into song on the Senate floor. He routinely led rousing choruses of Happy Birthday, sang to commemorate holidays such as St. Patrick's Day and Christmas, and would often sign a hymn when leading the Senate invocation.
Hart died while vacationing in New Mexico. He has been cremated. No details on a memorial service have been listed.


(Alger Co-Inmate Assault)
A sheriff deputy in the Upper Peninsula is on administrative leave facing possible assault charges.
The Alger County Sheriff told the Marquette Mining Journal that the deputy, whose name has not been released, is accused of assaulting a 55-year-old jail inmate in December.
The inmate is facing fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges using force or coercion for molesting women during their treatment at the HealthQuest chiropractic clinic in Munising. The deputy was the husband of an alleged victim.
The incident is being investigated by the Michigan Sheriffs Special Investigation Operations Network team.


(Jackson-School Theat Hoax)
A Jackson County school was on "soft lockdown" Wednesday as authorities investigated a threat that a gun was at the school.
Jackson County Emergency Dispatch received a call at 9:30 a.m. about a gun being on the premises at Vandercook Lake High School. The call prompted a "soft lockdown" meaning the building was secured, not letting anyone in or out.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office determined the threat to be a hoax, but continues to investigate.
Undersheriff Christopher Kuhl says detectives are reviewing surveillance video from around the building to see if any students can be seen on their phone during the time the 911 call was made.
Kuhl asks that any students with information regarding the call should contact the Jackson County Tip Line at 517-787-0212 or contact school officials.


(UM-Peace Corps Volunteers)
The idea for the Peace Corps was first launched at the University of Michigan and, more than 50 years later, the school continues to be one of the top producers of volunteers.
This year 93 U-M graduates are serving as Peace Corps volunteers, making the school the fourth largest producer of corp volunteers up one spot from last year. U-M is tied with the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Since the agency was created in 1961, 2,515 Michigan graduates have served overseas, making U-M the number 4 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
The history of the Peace Corps can be traced back to U-M. In an October 14, 1960, speech outside the Michigan Union, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy challenged students to volunteer two years of their lives to help people in developing countries. In March 1961, shortly after assuming office, he signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps.


(Washtenaw Co-Murder Suspect)
A 21-year old man was arraigned at the Washtenaw County Jail Wednesday in the shooting death of an Ypsilanti Township man last week.
Avantis Parker faces one charge each of open murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon. He’s being held without bond.
28-year old Brandon Charles was found dead in the driver’s seat of a car January 29 in an Ypsilanti Township neighborhood. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to his torso just hours before he was scheduled to testify in a criminal case in Detroit.


(Detroit-Stuck In Wall)
A prisoner who attempted to escape custody while in a Detroit hospital was captured after getting stuck in a wall.
The sex crimes suspect had been shot by police Tuesday night before during a sting operation.
He was being treated at St. John Hospital Wednesday morning when he tried to escape through the ceiling of the bathroom in his room. Instead he ended up trapped in the wall between the bathroom and his hospital room.
(Metro Source)


(East Lansing-MSU Coal Plant)
Students and clean energy advocates have called on Michigan State University to retire its coal plant and properly dispose of toxic coal ash that was buried on campus.
According to the group Clean Energy Now, the coal ash was first discovered in 2007 during an excavation of what is now called Recycling Drive. Some of the material was moved to a local landfill, but the group says more than 92,782 cubic yards of coal ash was “relocated” to MSU Police Firearms and Canine Training Facility on the south side of the East Lansing campus.
Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal, and contains toxic materials like mercury, lead and arsenic.
MSU professor of medicine Kenneth Rosenman says the continued burning of coal on campus is a public health problem.
The university’s T. B. Simon Power Plant is the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation. It houses boilers installed between 1965 and 2006 that provide essentially all of the heat and electricity for the campus.



(Wed lottery)
There were no winning tickets sold in Wednesday's Classic Lotto 47 game.
That means Saturday's jackpot will be worth five-point-six-five (5,650,000) (m) million dollars.
The numbers drawn Wednesday were: 08, 18, 22, 23, 28, and 34.
The Powerball numbers from last night: 05-27-36-38-41.
The power ball was 12.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Wednesday were: 5-4-0.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 6-6-5-8.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 2-4-4.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were: 2-9-7-0.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 03-06-10-17-31.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 02, 10, 12, 13, 20, 21, 23, 29, 32, 37, 39, 41, 46, 47, 51, 56, 62, 64, 69, 70, 78, 79.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot will be worth at least $12 (m) million dollars.
Saturday's Powerball jackpot will be worth $40 (m) million dollars.


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