11.25.14:  State police boost patrols around Thanksgiving


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police troopers are boosting patrols as part of an effort to keep roads safe for Thanksgiving travelers.

Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation CARE, runs Wednesday through Sunday.

Troopers across the state will conduct high-visibility enforcement focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding. The extra patrols are paid for with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation will display safe driving reminders on its freeway message boards and at rest areas.

In 2013, state police say there were 12 traffic fatalities around the Thanksgiving holiday.

11.25.14:  YouTube video of Michigan driver prompts probe


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Southwestern Michigan police are investigating after a 23-minute video was uploaded to YouTube showing a driver appearing to commit traffic violations.

An Oshtemo Township officer has been assigned to investigate the driver. The creator of the video writes that the same driver has been committing the apparent violations for over two years.

The video shows the car running red lights and using left turn lanes to cut off oncoming traffic. It includes clear shots of the car’s license plate. Attempts to reach the video’s creator haven’t been successful.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas says authorities will conduct a full investigation because if they “take YouTube at face value” they usually get “the short end of the stick.”


11.25.14:  Snow, freezing rain make Michigan roads hazardous


(AP) — Snow and freezing rain are combining to make travel hazardous in parts of Michigan, causing a pileup involving more than 20 vehicles.


Flint police Sgt. Jason Mitchell says ice was to blame for the multi-car pileup around 5:50 a.m. Tuesday that closed the southbound Interstate 475 ramp to eastbound I-69. Other area crashes are reported.


Snow is expected to make travel difficult in the northern Lower Peninsula, with 3 to 7 inches forecast in places. In western Michigan, an inch or so of fresh snow is possible. Roads are slippery, with temperatures below freezing. Parts of the Upper Peninsula are getting 1 to 4 inches of fresh snow.


The weather prompted some school closings Tuesday around the state. Several Detroit schools are closed due to power outages.

11.25.14:  Remains of Green Beret return from Afghanistan


BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — People have lined the streets of Bay City for the return of the remains of a 31-year-old Green Beret who was killed in combat in Afghanistan.


The Pentagon says that Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Cathcart died of wounds received from small arms fire in Kunduz Province on Nov. 14. Cathcart was based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


A casket landed Monday at MBS International Airport, and taken to Gephardt Funeral Home. Cathcart’s funeral is at 10 a.m. Wednesday at All Saints Parish’s St. Boniface Campus in Bay City.


Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered flags U.S. flags in Michigan lowered Wednesday in Cathcart’s honor.


He was a Bay City Central High School graduate and enlisted in the Army in 2001. He served in combat in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

11.24.14:  AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 13 cents in week


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have dropped about 13 cents a gallon in the last week.


The auto club expects prices to continue falling through the Thanksgiving holiday, giving drivers the cheapest seasonal prices since 2009.


Dearborn-based AAA Michigan says the statewide average price per gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.87 on Sunday. That’s about 42 cents less than it was one year ago.


The auto club surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. It says the cheapest price was $2.78 a gallon in the Benton Harbor area. The most expensive price was about $2.95 a gallon in the Marquette area.

11.24.14:  $45 million power line project to move forward


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A $45 million high-voltage power line project in Kalamazoo County is expected to move forward despite opposition from local government officials and landowners.


The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed the Michigan Public Service Commission’s July 2013 decision to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Michigan Electric Transmission Co., a subsidiary of Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp.


The ruling lifts a halt on construction that was imposed after Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township and landowners filed an appeal in August 2013. ITC spokesman Joe Kirik says a review is planned to determine when construction on the Weeds Lake reliability project might start.


Oshtemo Township attorney James Porter says he’s “extremely disappointed” by the decision. He says state law gives the MPSC too much authority.


11.24.14:  Rhodes scholars include Michigan man


HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A University of Michigan student from western Michigan has been named a Rhodes scholar.


David Moore of Holland is pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering after getting his bachelor’s degree in the same field last spring.


Moore will enter Oxford University in England next October with 31 other U.S. men and women. The value of the prestigious scholarship averages about $50,000 per year.


Moore has created a mechanism that allows wheelchair users to use a backpack with greater ease. He’s also a former captain of the Michigan men’s swim team.

11.24.14:  High winds, snow forecast in parts of Michigan


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Forecasters say a cold front moving through the Great Lakes region will bring high winds and lower temperatures to Michigan.


A wind advisory is in effect for much of the Lower Peninsula, with gale warnings issued on the lakes. In southern Michigan, southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph are forecast that could gust to 45 mph. Winds could make driving hazardous and knock out power.


In the northern Lower Peninsula, a weather advisory is in effect from Monday evening through Tuesday evening. Rain will change to snow as temperatures drop below freezing and 2 to 7 inches of snow is possible depending on the location. Travel will be difficult.


In the Upper Peninsula, 4 to 8 inches of snow is forecast. The biggest amounts are possible along Lake Superior.


11-21-14  Thanksgiving Travel Expected to be Heavy

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA says nearly 1.5 million people in Michigan plan to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

The auto club says the Michigan travel estimate is nearly 5 percent higher than 2013 and the highest volume for the holiday period since 2007.

AAA says that nearly 90 percent of Michigan travelers will travel by personal vehicle. About 2 percent will go by air and the rest will take other means of travel.

The holiday comes as the average price for gas in Michigan is $2.92 per gallon, down 35 cents from the $3.27-per-gallon average a year ago

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Nov. 26 through Nov. 30.

11.20.14:  Michigan Christmas tree farmers lack cheer in snow


ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — Frigid temperatures and heavy snow are posing challenges to wholesale Christmas tree growers in Michigan as they try to ship out their final tree orders.

Michigan Christmas Tree Association director Marsha Gray says most growers in the state are dealing with “long hours and cold employees.”

Ken Wahmhoff of Wahmhoff Farms Nursery in Gobles says his employees were working in more than a foot of snow Wednesday. He says this week is “all about shipping trees” but about 20 people skipped work and a truck didn’t show up.

An owner of Badger Evergreen in Allegan says the nursery is far behind schedule. Trucks have had trouble reaching the farm’s loading yards in the snow.

Some tree retail lots open this weekend, but most sales kick off the day after Thanksgiving.