8.23.16:  Lightning-Fatal



PRESQUE ISLE, Mich. (AP) — A 21-year-old Grand Rapids woman who was spending the summer with her grandparents has died after being hit by lightning in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Alyson Knenlein was struck Friday and found near the Grand Lake beach house in Presque Isle County, north of Alpena.

The Alpena News says Knenlein was working as a lifeguard at Grand Lake for the Presque Isle Harbor Association. East Grand Lake Fire Chief Ron Fournier says conditions were stormy at the time of the lightning strike.


8.23.16:  Officials investigating methane gas migration at landfill



KENTWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Officials have started investigating ways to resolve the migration of methane gas from a closed landfill near Grand Rapids in western Michigan.

Public Works officials in Kent County say Monday in a release that tests at the landfill in Kentwood found methane underground at various depths to the west of the site.

Methane naturally forms in landfills. County health officials say the gas dissipates quickly when exposed to air, but can be flammable in closed spaces.

Public Works Director Dar Baas says an engineering consultant will be hired.

Kentwood city officials also will install additional gas detection equipment within buildings near the landfill and portable testing equipment is being used to test air quality.

A public question and answer session will be held Aug. 31 at Kentwood City Hall.


8.23.16:  West Nile virus found in Oakland County blood donation



PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in Oakland County say donated blood has tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The Detroit News reports Monday that the positive test was discovered during routine testing by the American Red Cross.

A case of West Nile virus was found in July in nearby Livingston County.

Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds and then pass it to people. The elderly and people with a weak immune system are considered to be at greatest risk.

Oakland County Health Division health officer Kathy Forzley says “it is important that everyone protect themselves from mosquito bites — especially those 50 and older who are more susceptible to severe” symptoms.

Many people who are infected won’t develop any symptoms, which can include body aches, joint pain and diarrhea.


8.23.16:  Program to provide business training, loans to ex-prisoners



DETROIT (AP) — A program providing entrepreneurship training and microloans to former prisoners will be rolled out in Detroit and three other cities.

The $2.1 million Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative was announced Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and micro-lender Justine PETERSEN.

The initiative also is planned for Chicago, St. Louis, and Louisville, Kentucky. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will fund the pilot.

Its specific focus will be on the formerly incarcerated who also are raising children, and expands on a Small Business Administration microloan program for small business owners currently on probation or parole.

Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet says “entrepreneurship and small business ownership are proven paths toward wealth creation and financial independence especially for people who might otherwise feel trapped by their circumstances.”


8.23.16:  People with disabilities can soon enroll in savings plans



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Starting in November, Michigan residents with disabilities will be able to enroll in special tax-free savings accounts without jeopardizing their access to public assistance.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who signed the legislation last year, announced Monday that the state Treasury Department has finalized a contract with Florida-based TSA Consulting Group to manage the new program.

The accounts will offer advantages similar to 529 college savings plans.

Distributions, including any earnings, will not be taxed if used for qualified disability expenses such as education, housing, transportation and job training. Money in the accounts will be disregarded so people with disabilities can still qualify for state and federal benefits.

The accounts will be known as Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience, or MI-ABLE, plans.


8.22.16:  Statewide average gas rise 7 cents



DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen 7 cents per gallon in the past week.

The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.32 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 59 cents less than it was at the same point last year.

AAA says gas prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be among the most volatile in the nation, amid refinery issues and tightening supplies.

The lowest average price was about $2.27 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.38 per gallon in the Marquette area.

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


8.21.16:  West Michigan cleans up after severe storm moves through



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Severe weather has slammed parts of western and southwestern Michigan as storms moved northeast across the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist T.J. Turnage says Saturday that officials have seen “indications of tornadoes on radar, and very good indications they have occurred and debris lifted up with them.”

Turnage said parts of Allegan and Kent counties, and the outskirts of Grand Rapids saw some of the worst weather.

Tornado and thunderstorm warnings were issued. No injuries have been reported.

Andy Bloos tells The Grand Rapids Press that he could feel his house shaking.

Some power lines trees were knocked down Saturday afternoon. More than 20,000 utility customers in several counties lost power.

The weather service says storms also are expected into Saturday evening across parts of the central Lower Peninsula.


8.19.16:  Michigan flags are flying at half-staff Friday



–Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff Friday, August 19 on all state buildings and within the state Capitol complex in honor of Terrence Raymond, a firefighter with the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department who died Monday, August 15.

Raymond was a volunteer firefighter for the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department.

A service in his honor will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19 at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Deerfield.

8.19.16:  Trumps to make a visit to the Lansing area




-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is headed to Michigan later today.

He was scheduled to speak early Friday afternoon near Lansing but that has now been pushed back to 5 p.m.

He will hold a rally at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Dimondale and is expected to discuss national security, among other issues.





8.19.16:  $1M federal grant to help Michigan farmers restore wetlands



TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A $1 million federal grant will help farmers and local partners restore wetlands on public and private lands in Michigan.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says the funding will be distributed through the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s wetland mitigation banking program.

Stabenow is ranking Democratic member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She says the funding will help state officials work with farmers on improving wetlands, which protect water quality and provide habitat for waterfowl and other animals.

The wetland program was established under the 2014 federal farm bill.