Thursday Morning State News Summary
Thu, 14 Feb 2013 00:38:44 EST
(MI-Graduation Rate)
The statewide 4-year graduation rates for Michigan students expected to graduate
last spring increased to 76.2 percent, up 1.9 percent from the 2011 rate of 74.3
percent.
According to data released today (Wednesday) by the Michigan Center for
Educational Performance and Information, more than 53 percent of Michigans
school districts saw higher graduation rates, including many of the largest
districts. Of the 14 school districts with 1,000 or more students in the senior
class, all but three improved their graduation rates between 2011 and 2012.
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the numbers are reflective of how
teachers and students are succeeding with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum
and being better prepared to continue Michigans economic comeback.
The largest increase in graduation rates throughout a 5-year period were seen in
several racial and ethnic groups.
Rates for black students reached 59.93 percent last year, an increase of 3.64
percent since 2008. Hispanic student rates were at 64.3 percent, up 3.97
percent.
This years rate reflects that 73.52 percent of multiracial students graduated in
four years, increasing the annual rate by 3.52 percent since 2008.


(MI-Teenage Murderers)
Attorney General Bill Schuette sent a letter to all 83 county prosecutors in
Michigan today (Wednesday) clarifying what he believes is misinformation about
life-without-parole sentences for teenage murders.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that such sentences are valid, but they
could not be a part of a mandatory sentencing scheme. The high court did not
offer an opinion on whether it should be applied retroactively.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge John O'Meara in a separate case issued an
opnion that teenagers in Michigan convicted of murder should have a chance at
parole and cited the Supreme Court ruling. O'Meara also ruled Michigan's parole
law is unconstitutional.
Schuette wrote prosecutors that the high court ruling does not mean all teenage
murder convictions are subject to resentencing, or immediate parole review.
The A.G.'s office has filed suit on the retroactivity issue in both state and
federal court.


(Holland-LG Chem Misused Grant)
A Michigan-based battery maker is being accused of misusing a 150 (m)
million-dollar federal grant.
A U.S. Energy report says Holland-based LG Chem Michigan has failed to meet the
targets outlined in the 150 (m) million-dollar U.S. grant and was reimbursed by
the federal government for wasted work time.
It says LG Chem employees played games, watched videos and volunteered at
various organizations then billed their time to a U.S. Department of Energy
Stimulus grant to the tune of 842-thousand-dollars.
The battery-maker also failed to shift production from its South Korea facility
to Michigan and has not manufactured any battery cells to be used in electric
vehicles.
LG Chem responded to the accusations saying that it is reimbursing the
842-thousand-dollars in labor costs to the federal government. The company also
says it is taking steps to prevent such actions in the future and to comply with
rules for use of federal grant money.


(MI-Gun Control Poll)
Most Michigan voters oppose President Barak Obama's proposed new gun controls,
according to a new poll.
The survey by Lansing-based EPIC/MRA found that only 42-percent of likely
Michigan voters support the president's proposed changes in national gun laws,
while 44-percent voiced opposition and 14-percent were undecided.
It also found that opposition was strong for pending legislation in Michigan
that would exempt from federal regulation any firearm, firearm accessory or
ammunition manufactured in Michigan and remaining within the borders of the
state.
Only 35-percent support the legislation, while 53-percent oppose it and
12-percent were undecided.
The poll found overwhelming support, 86-percent, for requiring everyone to
undergo a background check before buying a firearm at a gun show. Only
12-percent were against the requirement.
Most, 54-percent, also supported banning future manufacturing and sales of
semi-automatic assault weapons. 43-percent were against it.     
The poll of 600 likely Michigan voters was conducted between February 5-10 and
has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


(Walker-Meijer Investment)
West Michigan-based retailer Meijer will invest more than $160 million to build
or remodel 11 stores that will create 1,500 new jobs.
The Grand Rapids Press reports the investment includes the construction of six
new Meijer supercenters and major remodel projects for an additional five
stores.
The new stores will be split evenly among Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. All
but one of the remodeled stores will be in Michigan where more than half of the
company's stores are located.
The two new Michigan stores are a long-awaited Detroit location and in the
Flint-area community of Swartz Creek.
According to the newspaper, more than one-third of the 1,500 new jobs will be in
Michigan.


(MI-Poll-Snyder Approval Rate)
Governor Rick Snyder's approval ratings have taken a hit.
A new poll by EPIC-MRA of Lansing, suggests that support for the governor took a
dive following the passage of right-to-work legislation in December. The poll
found that 61-percent of Michigan voters give Snyder a negative job rating,
while 36-percent give him a positive one.
Those numbers are very different from a poll conducted at the end of November
which showed a 51-percent positive rating and 48-percent negative rating.
Voters were surveyed between February 5th to the 10th for the latest poll.


(MI-Auto Reliability Study)
A new study shows that cars and trucks are more reliable than ever.
The 24th annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study is a survey of problems
reported by owners of three year old vehicles. The 2013 study averaged 126
problems per 100 vehicles, an improvement of five percent from 2012.
Vice President of Global Automotive David Sargent says dependability continues
to improve as manufacturers, collectively, are building better vehicles than
they ever have done.
Toyota had seven vehicles that finished tops in their individual categories.
General Motors was second with four.
Sargent says domestic brands have virtually closed the quality gap with import
brands adding that Ram, Suzuki, Chrysler and Mazda lead the field.
While many consumers are concerned about launch problems with vehicles that are
all new or significantly updated, Sargent says thats not a problem anymore. In
fact, the J.D. Power study showed, for the first time, new models performing
better than carryover models.
The study focuses on three year old vehicles because thats when most vehicles
start to have problems, and are likely to be out of warranty. Its intended to
give carmakers and consumers an idea of how well a vehicle holds up over the
long term.
With the average vehicles on the road now more than 11 years old, Sargent says
this study is a good sign of how well more modern vehicles will hold up over
their lifetime.
He says for consumers, the good news is they can be fairly safe in holding on to
their vehicle.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit)


(Gordie Howe Movie)
A TV movie on Detroit Red Wing legend Gordie Howe has been finished and will be
broadcast on the Hallmark Channel in May.
The movie is the product of the cable channel, Brightlight Pictures and Inferno
Pictures. It focuses largely on the period after Howe retired from the Red Wings
but came back to play with his sons in the fledgling World Hockey Association.
The film stars Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1) as Gordie Howe and Kathleen
Robertson (Beverly Hills 90210) as Mrs. Hockey, Colleen Howe, who also became
the first ever female sports agent when she brokered the WHA deal with the
Houston Aeros.
It will premiere on May 4th at 9pm.


(Antrim Co-Meth Bust)
Police believe they have nabbed a man who was running a methamphetamine
manufacturing operation in Antrim, Charlevoix and Kalkaska counties in northern
lower Michigan.
Antrim County Sheriff's Deputies arrested 36-year-old Dennis Short after they
found meth and marijuana in his car following a routine traffic stop on US-131
in Custard Township, just outside of Mancelona.
The arrest culminated a ten-month long investigation.
Short is facing one count of controlled substance for meth but more charges are
expected.


(Ferndale-Problem Parking Meters)
The newly installed, unmanned smart parking meter stations in Ferndale are
reportedly causing a lot of frustration.
Residents and business owners say the meters are not working well, and they make
parking too expensive.
The city of Ferndale recently increased the hourly parking rate to one-dollar,
an increase of 25-cents. About a-half-dozen Ferndale lots use the new parking
payment system, and some business owners want the city to drop parking rates to
75-cents after five-p.m., fearing the higher rates will discourage people from
coming to the city.
City officials say the parking program may be difficult, but the city needs the
cash to build a new parking ramp to handle traffic.
(Metro Source)

(Wed lottery)
There was one jackpot winning ticket sold in Wednesday's Classic Lotto 47 game
worth an estimated five-point-nine (m) million dollars ($5,900,000).
That means Saturday's jackpot will be worth one (m) million dollars.   
The numbers drawn Wednesday were: 5, 12, 18, 30, 32, and 38.
The Powerball numbers from last night: 05-06-16-36-58.
The power ball was 03.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Wednesday were: 4-6-4.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 7-0-3-6.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 4-6-2.
The winning numbers for the Evening 4 lottery were: 5-4-9-0.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were:   02-12-18-29-34.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 04, 05, 15, 16, 22, 35, 36, 40,
41, 45, 48, 58, 59, 61, 64, 67, 68, 69, 71, 73, 74, 75.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot will be worth at least $13 (m) million dollars.
Saturday's Powerball jackpot will be worth $50 (m) million dollars.

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