7.22.14:   State child poverty up, teen deaths down


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The annual Kids Count survey finds child poverty rates rising during 25 years of data-gathering while fewer teens are giving birth or dying.


The report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 32nd in overall child well-being nationally, down one slot since last year.


Michigan’s lowest ranking was in education, where children have struggled in math, reading and graduating on time. But since 1990, the state has seen significant improvements with its children attending preschool and having a parent or guardian with a diploma.


Michigan League for Public Policy says in a statement that “good public policy” has made a difference in some areas. But it’s “not acceptable” that Michigan ranks in the bottom half of the nation and more needs to be done.


7.22.14:   Fruit growers get new disaster relief


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says fruit growers affected by extreme weather conditions in 2012 will now be able to apply for new disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Michigan Democrat is chairwoman of the Senate’s Agriculture and says new provisions in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program as part of the 2014 Farm Bill will extend relief to growers hit by disasters that didn’t have access to crop insurance.


Stabenow noted in a statement that frosts and freezes in 2012 destroyed crops such as cherries and apples in Michigan and elsewhere. Eligible producers will be able to apply for assistance beginning Tuesday through their local Farm Service Agency office.

7.22.14:  Schuette urges changes after killer’s prison break


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is recommending numerous changes in prison security after a convicted quadruple murderer escape earlier this year.


Bill Schuette’s independent investigation into the February escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility flagged problems with video surveillance, fence alarms, prisoner counts and other issues. The report released Monday also says the Michigan Corrections Department should consider whether to re-station armed guards in towers and make perimeter patrol a full-time job again.


Schuette didn’t conclusively determine the lack of staffed towers or continuous perimeter patrols contributed to Michael Elliot’s escape. But his report may be grist for minority Democratic lawmakers and unions who blame the budget cuts.


Schuette says staff failures played a “significant” role. Authorities say Elliot took a woman hostage before he was caught 24 hours later in Indiana.

7.18.14:  Flags lowered for Binsfeld


GLEN ARBOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has called for the lowering of U.S. flags at state buildings in memory of former Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld.


Binsfeld died Jan. 12 at age 89. Snyder’s office says the flag-lowering begins Friday and runs through Sunday. It marks Saturday’s memorial for Binsfeld and her husband John, who also died this year.


The memorial is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Glen Arbor Township Hall in Leelanau County, about 20 miles west-northwest of Traverse City.


Snyder says in a statement that Binsfeld’s “work to support women, children and families as well as protect Michigan’s natural resources will remain a lasting legacy.”


The Republican Binsfeld served as lieutenant governor under Gov. John Engler in 1991-98. She also served in the state House and Senate.

7.18.14:  Car crash results in finding missing teen


It started earlier this week when police found the body of a man in a wooded area of Wyoming. Later his girlfriend was reported missing and now police say some of their questions have been answered.


Police say a missing pregnant woman was found dead in a vehicle, which was driven by a man that is suspected of killing her boyfriend.


Wyoming Police say there was a car chase last night that ended in a crash at US-131 and Burton in Grand Rapids.  The driver was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and the body of 18-year-old Brook Slocum was found in the trunk.  Slocum’s boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer was found in a Wyoming park on Wednesday.


Police haven’t identified the suspect or disclosed his connection to the couple.


Police say investigators were preparing a search warrant for a Wyoming home when the suspect left.

7.17.14:  Ford International Airport celebrates turning 50


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport opened the runways at its current location on November 23, 1963.  To commemorate 50 years of service in the West Michigan area, the Airport, in partnership with Special Olympics Michigan is holding a 50th Anniversary Airport Day and Plane Pull.


The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on GFIA grounds.  All celebration activities will take place at the Air Cargo and Trade Center located on the east side of the airfield, accessible from Thornapple River Drive.


In addition to the Plane Pull event, GFIA is hosting an Airport Day complete with static aircraft displays, skydivers, kids’ activities, giveaways and a tent offering 50-cent hot dogs, chips and other foods.


GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks, said that they have been celebrating their 50th anniversary throughout the year, but this celebration is to thank the West Michigan community for supporting the local airport and local jobs.


Click Here, for more information about Saturday’s event.

7.17.14:  GM’s legal staff targeted at recall hearing


WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate subcommittee chairwoman says General Motors should have fired its chief lawyer in the wake of a long-delayed recall of millions of small cars.


An internal report found GM attorneys signed settlements with the families of crash victims but didn’t tell engineers or top executives about mounting problems with ignition switches. It also found that GM’s legal staff acted without urgency.


GM says faulty ignition switches were responsible for at least 13 deaths. It took the company 11 years to recall the cars.


Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says GM’s chief counsel, Michael Milliken, should be fired.


In prepared testimony, Milliken said he didn’t learn about the switch issue until February and took immediate action.


Milliken, GM CEO Mary Barra and others are appearing Thursday before the subcommittee.

7.17.14:  Bill protects soldiers in child custody cases


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan legislation would protect military members in child custody cases while serving overseas.


The bill proposed Wednesday responds to a Lenawee County judge’s decision to order a sailor to come to court despite him being aboard a U.S. submarine.


The legislation generally would prohibit judges from modifying parenting time if a motion is filed to suspend the case while the military member is away.


Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge says his bill shouldn’t “even be necessary.”


Lenawee County Judge Margaret Noe says she didn’t know Matthew Hindes was in the Pacific Ocean when he was supposed to appear or have someone bring his 6-year-old daughter to court.


Hindes’ ex-wife Angela Hindes lost custody of their child in 2010 amid allegations of neglect but seek to regain custody.

7.17.14:  Weather service confirms 2 more July 6-7 tornadoes


PEWAMO, Mich. (AP) — The National Weather Service says it’s confirmed two more tornadoes hit Michigan during severe storms on July 6 and 7.


The weather service says in a report on its website that one tornado was near Pewamo in Ionia County, traveling on the ground about three-fourths of a mile. The other was west of St. Johns in Clinton County and its path was 1.6 miles.


Tree and structure damage was reported in both areas from the early July 7 tornadoes.


The weather service earlier said a severe thunderstorm late on July 6 spawned a tornado with winds reaching the 100-110 mph range in Kent County, causing significant damage to homes and businesses.


A weaker tornado touched down near Ionia early July 7. Damage was reported to trees, crops and farm buildings.