Friday Morning State News Summary
Fri, 15 Feb 2013 02:07:00 EST
Any further Pure Michigan ads that include reference to Michigan's new "right to
work" law are on hold, according to the Michigan Economic Development
Speaking before a legislative committee in Lansing Thursday MEDC Vice President
Jim McBryde admits there was "tremendous reaction on both sides" regarding the
campaign, which included a Wall Street Journal ad that touted Michigan as a
'right to work' state.
Labor unions and many Democrats have blasted the right to work law, saying it's
intended to bust unions.
McBryde says his boss, Mike Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC, is
re-evaluating the use of the Pure Michigan logo in future economic development
Until then, McBryde says "any further advertising with the combination of Pure
Michigan and right to work is on hold."
(Capitol-Bear Cubs Bill)
Legislation that would allow the public to touch and pose for photos with bear
cubs cleared the Michigan Senate Thursday.
Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill last year because it would have also
allowed more facilities to keep large carnivores. However he supported the
provision concerning bear cubs.
Senate Republican Tom Casperson of Escanaba sponsored the measure to amend
Michigan's Large Carnivore Act by letting patrons at certain animal care
facilities come into direct contact with a bear less than 36 weeks or weighing
less than 90 pounds.
Bear ranchers argue that allowing people to interact with cubs is a vital part
of their business.
But opponents of the legislation say that bears can't be domesticated and pose a
risk to people.
A move is underway in Michigan to constitutionally change the referendum process
Currently if laws approved by the legislature also include an appropriation of
money, such as the recent 'right to work' law, they cannot be reversed through a
A Detroit-based group, which calls itself the "Voters for Fair Use of Ballot
Referendum," is preparing a petition drive that would change the constitution
to allow referendums against new laws even if those laws contain appropriations.
The Board of State Canvassers in Lansing today (Friday) will consider an effort
by the group to gain approval of the form of the petition.
Some labor unions and Democrat lawmakers in Lansing have accused the
Republican-controlled legislature of purposely putting a small appropriation
into the right to work law, specifically to block any effort by the public to
repeal it through referendum.
Supporters of right-to-work deny the charge, saying the appropriation was added
to help administer the law.
Governor Rick Snyder's proposal to increase the state's gas tax by 14-cents and
a 60-percent hike in driver registration fees as a way to pay for repairs to
Michigan's roads and bridges are likely off the table, according to the Senate
Senate Republican Randy Richardville told MIRS News he doesn't like the idea of
registration fees being raised every year.
The Senate Majority Leader said motorists who use comparatively less gasoline
due to their fuel efficient vehicles are probably not paying their fair share .
. . so, he said, they might talk about registration fees for those kinds of
Richardville also said he would like to keep the price at the pump close to
where it is now. That means the legislature will have to look elsewhere to
address the state's road funding deficit.
A 70-year-old assistant basketball coach who killed one teenager and wounded
another as they attempted to rob him at gunpoint outside of a Detroit high
school will not face charges in the case.
The Wayne County Prosecutors Office said Ernest Robinson was acting in
self-defense when he shot and killed 16-year-old Michael Scott earlier this
Robinson was leaving Martin Luther King Jr. High School the night of February 1
with two female basketball players when he was accosted by two teenage boys in
the parking lot. As Robinson approached the drivers side of his car, Scott and a
15-year-old boy, both of Detroit, approached Robinson and ordered him not to
Its alleged that the 15-year-old tugged at a chain Robinson was wearing. At the
same time, Scott reportedly pointed a gun toward the two females, who were on
the passenger side of the coachs car, and instructed them to leave the area. The
girls ran off and were unharmed.
While he was being robbed at gunpoint, Robinson pulled out his handgun and fired
at the teens. Scott was fatally shot and discovered by the police near the scene
of the robbery.
Prosecutors said Robinson, who is also a reserve officer with the Detroit Police
Department, has a concealed pistol license and was armed with a registered
The 15-year-old, who is being held at the countys juvenile detention center, is
charged with armed robbery and assault with intent to rob while armed. Hes due
back in court on Saturday for a preliminary hearing.
Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to a $29 million national settlement with
Michigan and 28 other states over allegations it concealed safety issues related
to unintended acceleration.
Attorney General Bill Schuette says Michigans share of the settlement is nearly
one-point-seven million dollars.
Toyota must also provide additional restitution and incentives to vehicle owners
who may have incurred costs related to unintended acceleration safety recalls.
In Michigan, 56,660 drivers were affected by floor mat recalls issued by Toyota
from 2009 to 2010.
As a result of the settlement, Toyota will be restricted from advertising the
safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such safety claims.
In a complaint filed today (Thursday) along with the settlement agreement in
Ingham County Circuit Court, Schuette alleges Toyota engaged in unfair and
deceptive practices when it failed to disclose known safety defects with
accelerator pedals in a timely fashion.
Beginning in 2010, the Michigan Attorney General's office launched an
investigation with other state attorneys general.
The investigation determined poor communication between Toyotas headquarters in
Japan and Toyotas United States holdings were partially responsible for the
automakers failure to timely report known safety issues.
High speed train service will be expanding in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Transportation and Amtrak are gearing up for track
improvements along the former Norfolk Southern Railway route used by Amtrak's
Wolverine Service and Blue Water trains to pave the way for more high speed
Amtrak will take over maintenance on the route beginning Saturday.
MDOT announced in December that it used a grant from the Federal Railroad
Administration to purchase of 135 miles of NS railroad for $140 million.
Currently, Amtrak trains reach 110 mph along an 80-mile stretch between Porter,
Indiana and Kalamazoo.
MDOT says the goal is to expand eastward starting with the 22-mile segment
between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek further reducing the travel time between
Detroit and Chicago to about five hours.
The department says improvements may begin as early as this spring.
(CMU-Downtown Detroit Campus-UPDATE)
Central Michigan University is adding a campus in downtown Detroit.
The Mount Pleasant school's board of trustees have approved a rental agreement
for approximately 4,000 square feet of space near Campus Martius. Currently,
CMU has seven campuses in southeastern Michigan and offers roughly 350 classes
in the Detroit region.
The new campus could be in place by 2014.
(Help from: Metro Source)
--- Watch for Updates ---
(Big Rapids-Missing Man)
Big Rapids Police are hoping to find a 49 year old man missing since Tuesday.
Authorities say Frederic Byrne was last seen leaving his mother's home in
Holland after taking his son back to school at Hope College. He planned on
stopping at the Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville on his way back home to
Big Rapids to pick up a Valentines Day gift for his wife.
Byrne is 6'3", 290 pounds and was wearing a brown Carhartt jacket, blue jeans
and a ball cap. He was driving a silver 2005 Chevy Malibu with a Michigan
license plate BSY 0298.
Investigators say Byrne had no medical or personal problems to affect his
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Big Rapids Police Department.
(WBRN, Big Rapids/John C. Smith, WOOD, Grand Rapids)
(Wexford Co-Doctor Charged)
An elderly doctor in Northern Michigan has been charged with falsifying medical
records and making misleading or inaccurate diagnoses to medical marijuana
76-year old Edward Harwell of Reed City was arraigned in Wexford County District
Court on multiple counts of prescribing medical marijuana without establishing a
physician-patient relationship, without gathering the facts to form a
professional opinion if the patient is likely to benefit from the use of
marijuana and intentionally placing false information on a health chart.
Harwell is free on bond. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Harwell operates clinics in Cadillac and Ann Arbor.
(Emmet Co-Husband Murder)
A Northwest Lower Michigan woman will stand trial for the murder of her husband
An Emmet County District Court judge ruled there was enough evidence to bind
59-year old Carol Ann Kopenkoskey of Petoskey over to Circuit Court on a charge
of first degree premeditated murder and using a firearm in committing a felony.
58-year old Lyle Kopenkoskey was found shot to death October 2, 2012 in a ditch
not far from where his truck was discovered on a road in Emmet County's Resort
Court documents show that during searches of the Kopenkoskey home, sheriff
deputies found an empty .38 caliber pistol case. Investigators also found
numerous books on committing murder and cleaning up crime scenes in Carol
Interviews also revealed that it was likely that Kopenkoskey was having an
affair with a business partner. Reports also state that she tried to withdraw
$100,000 worth of insurance claims only a short period after her husband died.
Kopenkoskey is free on bond. No trial date has been set.
(Detroit-Red Light District)
Is it an idea whose time has come - Or a step too far? A Detroit man gathering
signatures to run for the City Council has a unique proposal on his agenda.
Candidate Atti Pollard is proposing a red light district, which he believes
would be a way to bring in tourists and help Detroits ailing economy. Pollard
says it could start off with a strip club district and once the time goes on,
they can see if brothels or other means of sexual entertainment are needed.
Pollard claims it would take the strip clubs out of the neighborhoods and put
them into one closed off area somewhere in downtown Detroit.
One legal analyst said the strip club district could be done with a zoning vote.
But if Pollard wants to add brothels, that would require a change in state law.
Pollard says legalization of prostitution would require stringent background
checks to make sure business owners are not sex traffickers.
(Sandra McNeill, WWJ, Detroit)
Joseph Gentz is now scheduled to be sentenced for the death of Jane Bashara next
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and claims he was hired by
Bashara's husband Bob to kill the woman.
Gentz was scheduled to be sentenced last month but the process was delayed.
Officials say sentencing is now scheduled for February 19th at 9 a.m. in
He could get up to life in prison.
The Midland Board of Education will begin searching for a new superintendent
later this month.
The district's current chief, Carl Ellinger, said earlier this week that he will
step down at the end of the current school year. Trustees will seek bids from
executive search firms, with presentations possible during the board's February
Ellinger has been Midland's school superintendent for six years. He was
previously the leader of the Charlotte school district near Lansing.
The 58-year-old Ellinger says it was time to move on to a healthier, more
relaxed future. He and his family will remain in Midland after his retirement.
Two Warren men face multiple charges after posting threats and threatening
pictures towards police on the social media site Facebook.
Eighteen-year-old Richard William Walker and 20-year-old Michael Davis face a
misdemeanor charge of malicious use of telecommunications device along with
felony charges of possessing a short-barrel shotgun, and resisting and
obstructing a police officer.
An anonymous tip led police to Walker's home where they found shotguns, rifles,
a handgun, crossbow, mini-cannon, and cases of ammunition and about
10-thousand-dollars in fireworks.
Both men remain in the Macomb County jail, unable to post 50-thousand-dollar
(Grand Traverse Co-Deputy Fired)
A Grand Traverse County Sheriffs deputy has been fired after being convicted of
disturbing the peace last month.
35-year old Ryan Salisbury pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor count of
disturbing the peace after a fight at a Traverse City bar on December 6.
Salisbury received probation as part of a delayed sentence. Prosectors say if he
completes court-ordered terms during the next year, the conviction will be
Salisbury was placed on suspension after the incident. He worked for the
department for about 10 years.
Tonight's (Fri) Mega Millions jackpot is worth $13 (m) million dollars.
The winning numbers for the Midday 3 lottery on Thursday were: 8-1-5.
The winning numbers for the Midday 4 lottery were: 5-6-6-7.
The winning numbers for the Evening 3 lottery were: 1-8-1.
The winning numbers for the evening 4 lottery were: 7-5-6-6.
The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 lottery were: 06-18-21-22-27.
The winning numbers for the Keno lottery were: 01, 06, 09, 10, 11, 13, 21, 22,
23, 24, 28, 36, 37, 40, 45, 48, 53, 54, 58, 60, 68, 76.
Saturday's Classic Lotto jackpot is projected to be one (m) million dollars.