7.25.16:  7-year-old boy dies while swimming in western Michigan



CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 7-year-old boy has died while swimming in a lake in western Michigan while on a church group outing.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says a dive team found the child in Crockery Lake in Chester Township on Sunday evening and he was pronounced dead in an ambulance.


Authorities say Natanael Escobar was with a church group from Wyoming and was swimming at Grose Park with an 11-year-old boy when the older child started struggling. They say the younger boy tried to help the older boy, but the 7-year-old didn’t make it back to land.

Crews searched for more than an hour before finding the missing boy.


7.25.16:   Statewide average gas prices fall 11 cents



DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have fallen by about 11 cents per gallon in the past week.

The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.24 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 41 cents less than it was at the same point last year.

The lowest average price was about $2.13 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.32 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area.

AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.


7.22.16:  GOP ends convention while Democrats get ready to begin theirs



(AP) — More than 125,000 balloons floated down, as the Republican National Convention came to an end Thursday night with Donald Trump accepting his party’s nomination for president.

Trump pledges, as president, to restore a sense of public safety and curb immigration.  He also suggests that the U.S. might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and that has ignited domestic furor along with angst overseas.


Meanwhile, the 2016 Democratic Convention will be held next week in Philadelphia.   Hillary Clinton could announce a running mate today or tomorrow.  Some are saying that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, appears to have the inside track.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is also in the conversation.

Michigan will have a presence at the convention next week as speakers are expected to include former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and the mayors of Flint and Detroit.  A Detroit resident will also talk about her fight to raise the minimum wage.


7.22.16:  Authorities to discuss courthouse shooting investigation



BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are expected to discuss the investigation into a southwestern Michigan courthouse shooting that left two bailiffs dead.

A news conference is scheduled Friday in Benton Harbor.

The sheriff’s office has said investigators were still conducting interviews and gathering information and evidence from the July 11 shooting in Berrien County Circuit Court in St. Joseph.

Authorities have said a handcuffed 44-year-old Larry Darnell Gordon disarmed Deputy James Atterberry Jr. during a fight and wounded him. Bailiffs Ronald Kienzle and Joseph Zangaro were shot and killed in a public hallway.

A woman also was shot in the arm. Hostages were briefly taken before Gordon was fatally shot by other bailiffs.

Gordon was facing possible life in prison on rape and kidnapping charges involving a 17-year-old girl.


7.22.16:  Federal judge blocks Michigan ban on straight-party voting



DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Michigan’s new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a way to discourage turnout among minorities.

Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a “disproportionate burden” on the rights of blacks to vote in the fall election.

Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party — votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark.

The state attorney general’s office, which is defending the law in court, says Michigan joined 40 other states in banning straight-party voting. The judge says that’s irrelevant.


7.22.16:  Religious statue visiting Michigan as part of US tour



DETROIT (AP) — A well-known religious statue is visiting Michigan as part of a U.S. tour that runs through late 2017.

The tour of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima started this year and includes more than 100 dioceses, including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit starting Sunday. It travels with custodian Patrick Sabat, who gives presentations about its history.

Those involved in the effort say the Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace seeks to bring a message of hope, peace and salvation.

Sunday’s stops include Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Detroit and National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak. Starting Aug. 1, the statue will visit churches in the Gaylord, Marquette and Lansing dioceses. A full list of stops is posted online.


7.21.16:   Enbridge to pay $176M for Michigan oil spill



MARSHALL, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge Energy Partners has reached a $176 million settlement with the federal government for the costliest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced the deal Wednesday involving a 2010 spill in southwestern Michigan. Enbridge says 843,000 gallons flowed from a ruptured pipe into the Kalamazoo River, while EPA contends the total exceeded 1 million gallons.

The settlement requires the Canadian company to pay a $61 million penalty, the second-largest ever imposed for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Other spending will go toward measures to prevent future oil spills from Enbridge’s U.S. pipeline network, which covers 2,000 miles in seven states.


7.21.16:  Michigan conference seeks to help combat human trafficking



ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking and combat the problem will be the focus of a fall conference in Ann Arbor.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission on Thursday announced the Sept. 29 event. The commission, the State Court Administrative Office and the Department of Health and Human Services are involved.

The conference is open to law enforcement, legal professionals, victim service providers, protective services workers, judiciary staff and other human trafficking-related groups. Details are posted online.

Michigan has stepped up efforts in recent years to shield minor victims from prosecution and crack down criminals involved in human trafficking. Notices are being posted at rest stops, airports and bus stations to educate the public and offer help for victims.


7.20.16:  Battle Creek pastor hangs photos of mass shooting victims



BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Battle Creek pastor has been hanging photographs of deceased victims of this year’s U.S. mass shootings on the walls of his church.

The Rev. Brian Coleman of St. Thomas Episcopal Church tells the Battle Creek Enquirer that he has printed photos of those killed in mass shootings since February, when a man allegedly went on a shooting rampage in between picking up riders for Uber in Kalamazoo. Six people died.

By June, more than 200 photos hung in the church. Coleman says the wall represents a form of accountability as the national debate on gun violence increases.

Coleman says the church will continue to hang photos of victims of mass shootings, when four or more people at a time die, through the end of the year.


7.20.16:  Nuclear plant workers on leave due to fire check records



COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Officials say nearly two dozen security workers at Palisades nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan are on paid leave after inconsistencies in fire inspection records were found.

Plant spokeswoman Val Gent tells The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. placed the workers on leave while it investigates the allegations. One of the workers’ duties is to do routine checks to look for any possible signs of fire.

Specifics weren’t released, but Gent says “we cannot tolerate employees stating they completed a task when they didn’t, and we are obligated to fully investigate any such instances.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Prema Chandrathil says the plant’s owner Entergy placed 22 security workers on leave.

The plant is in Van Buren County’s Covert Township on the shore of Lake Michigan.