1-20-17 Former CMU Professor Sentenced for Possessing Abusive Material

Former Central Michigan University Professor Mark Ranzenberger will spend the next 14 years behind bars.  The 61-year old was sentenced in a federal court after pleading guilty to possessing the material on his computer.  Prosecutors say the investigation began after inappropriate material from his computer was displayed in a classroom.

Ranzenberger left the school in March of last year.  He made a brief statement in court professing remorse.  His victim also read a statement telling of the impact the abuse had on her life.

Ranzenberger might also face charges in another county.

1-20-17 Kalamazoo Semi-driver Cited After Truck Fire

A 24-year old semi driver was northbound on US-131 and reached down to pick up a phone.  Almost immediately, the trailer swerved out of his lane and struck a disabled vehicle.  As the trailer sideswiped the car, it ruptured the truck’s gas tank and spilled fuel which soon ignited.  The massive fire shut down 131 near the Parkview exit for several hours.

Now the driver has been cited for improper lane use.

The driver was not injured in the crash and the driver of the car that was hit had to be taken to a local hospital.  She was treated for minor injuries to her leg.


1.19.17:  Student arrested while handing out constitution sues college



BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Battle Creek community college is being sued by a student and two others who say they were arrested while peacefully distributing the U.S. Constitution last fall.

Michelle Gregoire says she was told she needed permission to distribute written materials. A lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court accuses Kellogg Community College of violating free speech rights and other protections. A group called Young Americans for Liberty is also a plaintiff.

The lawsuit says Kellogg Community College allows “expressive activity” only at an information table in the Student Center. Gregoire and others were arrested while talking to students outside the performing arts center and then locked in jail for hours. The prosecutor dropped the case.

The college says it will review the allegations in the lawsuit.



1.19.17:  Century-old inn can be sued for girl’s burns



ARCADIA, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says an inn near Lake Michigan can be sued for injuries suffered by a girl who burned her foot in the hidden leftovers of a beach bonfire.

The court overturned a decision by a Benzie County judge who said the century-old Watervale Inn was protected by a Michigan law that limits liability on businesses that provide recreation.

In a 3-0 decision, the court says that law doesn’t apply in the case of a 10-year-old girl. The court says the potential for injury while hunting or fishing is much greater than the passive activity of making sand castles.

The Watervale Inn argued that hot coals were hidden under sand. Nonetheless, the court says there’s evidence that the inn knew guests sometimes made fires on the beach.


1.18.17:  Gov. Snyder delivers 7th State-of-the-State



(AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 7th State of the State address last night in Lansing.

He pointed out a number of accomplishments, including the fact that Michigan’s per capita income is growing faster than the national average.  Job growth has continued to climb steadily since 2010 and unemployment is at its lowest point since 2001.


The Governor plans to head to Washington Thursday.

He wants to discuss the Medicaid expansion, which has provided health insurance to 600,000 low-income adults in Michigan but which is in jeopardy as Republicans seek to repeal the federal health care law.  Snyder says Michigan should be “speaking up” about the expansion.

1.18.17:  State regulators have ‘lost credibility’ on Flint water



FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined Flint residents in a lawsuit that seeks home delivery of bottled water if lead filters haven’t been properly installed.

In a court filing Tuesday, Schuette urged a judge to keep a November injunction in place. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration wants federal Judge David Lawson to drop the order, citing improvement in Flint’s water.

Schuette and special counsel Noah Hall say state regulators have “lost credibility” to enforce rules on lead in water.

Lawson’s order directs the state and Flint to deliver bottled water if a home filter isn’t working. At the same time, he’s also appointed a mediator to try to settle the dispute between the state and Flint residents.

Residents are urged to drink bottled water or filtered tap water.


1.18.17:  Septic systems pollute waters across Michigan




DETROIT (AP) — Research shows septic systems are polluting waters across Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reports more than 1 million of the individual waste disposal systems that don’t connect to a city sewer line still remain in the state. A 2015 published research study from Michigan State University found E. coli from humans in all of the 64 rivers studied in the Lower Peninsula. Higher concentrations were found in areas with more septic systems.

Grenetta Thomassey, spokeswoman for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council based in Petoskey, says while 11 of Michigan’s counties have inspection requirements for septic systems when a property is sold, most counties and health districts don’t have one.

The study says Michigan is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t manage septic systems statewide. Millions of homes nationwide still use septic systems.



1.17.17:  DeVos to face questions over schools, conservative activism




WASHINGTON (AP) – €” Betsy DeVos of West Michigan, is being considered for the position of education secretary and her nomination is being considered today in Washington.


Her financial questionnaire shows DeVos has donated to the political campaigns of at least four committee members.

The committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, says DeVos will work to ensure equal access to a high quality education.


DeVos spent the past two decades advancing charter schools. She also has pushed for vouchers, which use public money to help low-income families send their kids to private and religious schools of their choice.

She is a supporter of schools of choice, which public school union members don’t agree with.


1.17.17:  Gov. Snyder to give 7th State of the State address to Legislature



LANSING, Mich. (AP) -€” Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver his seventh State of the State address to a joint session of the Michigan Legislature.

The Republican’s speech Tuesday night comes a year after he devoted much of his address to discussing Flint’s water emergency at a time he faced heavy criticism for failures that led to and prolonged the crisis.

He will again surely discuss Flint, where officials say lead levels continue to decrease. The state has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars toward the man-made disaster.

Snyder has been tight-lipped about his speech. But he has spoken often of how Flint’s woes should spur a commitment to replacing aging water pipes and other infrastructure across Michigan.

Funding is an issue. His call last year for $165 million resulted in $5 million instead.


1.17.17:  GM to announce $1B factory investment, new jobs




DETROIT (AP)-€” A person briefed on the matter says General Motors will announce a $1 billion investment in its factories that will create or keep around 1,000 jobs.

The investment will be announced Tuesday. The person tells The Associated Press that the investment is part of the normal process of equipping factories to build new models, and it’s been planned for months. The person didn’t want to be identified because the announcement hasn’t been made yet.

The person also says multiple factories will see investment, but GM won’t say where the new jobs will go.


President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to tax GM for importing the compact Chevrolet Cruze. While GM builds hatchback Cruzes in Mexico, most Cruze sales are Ohio-built sedans.