10.24.14:  Amtrak gets new train station in G.R.


Amtrak is getting ready to open a new train station in Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 27.


The station is slated to send off its first train of passengers at 7:40 a.m. Monday and later around 10 a.m. a public grand opening is scheduled.


The Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station is located at 440 Century Avenue SW and is adjacent to the Rapid Central Station.


MDOT says the $6.1 million station was funded using a $4.6 million Dept. of Transportation grant and a $1.5 million match in other federal, state, and local funds.



10.24.14:  President will be in Detroit area next weekend


President Obama will make his way to Michigan next weekend.

He plans to be here next Saturday and will campaign in the Detroit area for U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.

Few other details have been released yet by the Democratic Party.

10.24.14:  NY Doctor with MI ties


A doctor who became New York City’s first Ebola patient has a Michigan connection.

Dr. Craig Spencer is from Grosse Pointe, Michigan and attended Wayne State University School of Medicine.


Dr. Spencer is with Doctors Without Borders and recently returned from West Africa.

Thursday he came down with a 103 degree fever and was put in isolation.  His fiancée and 2 friends have been quarantined, but show no symptoms.

10.23.14:  Michigan DNR proposes islands management plan


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials are asking the public for input on the management of northern Lake Michigan islands.


The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday it will hold three public meetings on its preliminary management plan for state-owned island land. It says the proposal is based on meetings with groups including conservation organizations and tribal governments.


The Beaver Island Natural Resources and Ecotourism Steering Committee also recently outlined recommendations for conservation and economic development. The proposals also aim to foster environmental awareness among residents.


Meetings will be held in East Lansing on Nov. 3, Traverse City on Nov. 5 and Beaver Island on Nov. 6. Written comments can also be submitted to the state until Nov. 30.

10.23.14:  MI picks state Christmas tree from Kingsford


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 63-foot blue spruce from the Upper Peninsula has been chosen as this year’s state Christmas tree.


Michigan officials announced the selection Wednesday of the state’s 29th Christmas tree. The spruce will be delivered to the state Capitol on Nov. 1 from Kingsford in Dickinson County.


The tree will be strung with an additional 4,000 lights this year to mark the 30th Silver Bells in the City holiday celebration. Officials say Capitol Avenue will be lit with an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 lights total.


The tree lighting and accompanying fireworks display are scheduled for Nov. 21.


This is the 20th time the state tree has been selected from the Upper Peninsula.

10.22.14:  Gov. Snyder signs law to ban Tesla direct sales


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law tighter restrictions to prohibit electric car maker Tesla Motors from selling vehicles in Michigan.


The governor’s move Tuesday is welcomed by mainline automakers and dealerships that say all manufacturers should follow the same rules. Tesla has said the “anti-competitive” bill would definitively prohibit it from selling directly to Michigan consumers because it doesn’t have franchised dealerships.


Snyder says Michigan law already prohibited automakers from selling straight to drivers and the change lets manufacturers without franchised dealers sell through another automaker’s dealers.


Tesla warns it may be unable to even open a viewing gallery in Michigan under the legislation.


Palo Alto, California-based Tesla says it expects to be able to build 100,000 vehicles annually by the end of 2015, up from 35,000 this year.

10.22.14:  Red Cross official: 6 months to contain Ebola


BEIJING (AP) — A top Red Cross official says he is confident the Ebola epidemic can be contained within four to six months.


The secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, told a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the time frame is possible if there is “good isolation, good treatment of the cases which are confirmed, good dignified and safe burials of deceased people.”


The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people since it emerged 10 months ago. Most of the deaths have been in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.


The humanitarian network is holding its four-yearly Asia Pacific regional conference in the Chinese capital.

10.21.14:  Grants available for animal welfare programs


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering grants of $10,000 or less to shelters and other organizations that work to prevent cruelty to animals.


The agency will allocate $175,000 for the purpose next year and is accepting proposals through Nov. 10.


Registered animal control and animal protection shelters can apply for funds to help increase the adoption rate of sterilized dogs and cats and to enforce anti-cruelty laws.


Grants also could be awarded to train animal control officers, increase the percentage of dogs and cats that are altered when adopted, provide education and training on anti-cruelty laws and proper animal care, and buy needed equipment for such programs.

10.21.14:  Great Lakes water levels rise to above average


PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit says water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron are above average this season for the first time since 1998.


Army Corps watershed hydrology chief Keith Kompoltowicz  says  the lakes are 19 to 20 inches higher than they were at this time last year. A six-month forecast predicts levels will stay about 15 to 19 inches higher than they were last year, or about 2 to 4 inches above average.


September was the first month since December 1998 that the levels were above average. Kompoltowicz says a wet spring and snowy winter contributed to the rising water.


The increase could mean a faster current in the St. Clair River and less beach space, as well as heavier loads on commercial freighters.