9.30.14:  Toyota recalls 690,000 pickups to fix rear springs


DETROIT (AP) — Toyota says it is recalling 690,000 Tacoma pickup trucks because the rear leaf springs could break, puncture the gas tank and cause a fire.


The recall covers Tacoma Four-by-Four and Pre-Runner pickups from the 2005 through 2011 model years.


The automaker says the leaf springs can fracture due to stress and corrosion. They can move out of position and come into contact with surrounding components, including the gas tank. Toyota says it’s not aware of any fires, crashes or injuries from the problem.


Owners will be notified by mail and Toyota says dealers will fix the problem at no cost.


Owners with questions can call Toyota at (800) 331-4331.

9.26.14:   Driver dies after Michigan bridge collapse


DETROIT (AP) — Police say the driver of a truck that hit a pedestrian bridge over a Detroit freeway, causing it to collapse, has died.


Michigan State Police Lt. Michael A. Shaw told reporters at the scene that the driver died Friday morning following the bridge collapsing onto the Southfield Freeway. He didn’t share details about what caused the driver’s death.


Shaw says the driver, whose identity has not been released, worked for a waste-hauling business. He says “momentum is enough to take down the bridge” when hit by a truck.


Shaw says no one was on the bridge when it fell.


The freeway was closed from Interstate 96 to Joy Road during rush hour. The Michigan Department of Transportation and state police say they weren’t sure how long the roadway would be closed.

9.26.14:  Detroit’s elected officials regain control of city


DETROIT (AP) — The day-to-day operations of Detroit’s city government are back in the hands of its elected mayor and City Council.


State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says “the city is more than ready” before signing Order 42.


The measure puts the nine-member council and Mayor Mike Duggan back in charge of Detroit’s finances, police department and other facets of city government.


Orr was appointed by the state in March 2013 to manage Detroit’s troubled finances, and he took the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.


His exit becomes effective if and when federal Judge Steven Rhodes approves the city’s restructuring plan in bankruptcy court. The plan would wipe out $7 billion of Detroit’s $12 billion in long-term, unsecured debt while restructuring city services.

9.25.14:  Driver who fatally struck cyclist dies in crash


MERRILL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a man struck and killed in a hit-and-run crash in western Michigan was the driver in a summertime crash that killed a Grand Rapids bicyclist.


The Grand Rapids Press reports that 61-year-old Steven Jones was killed Wednesday morning while walking in Newaygo County’s Merrill Township. Undersheriff Brian Boyd said there were no witnesses and the vehicle left.


Boyd confirmed Jones was the SUV driver in the July 9th crash along Egypt Valley that killed Jeff Dykehouse, an area photographer.


Jones had been held overnight at the Kent County Jail on suspicion of drunken driving. Officials say a recently completed toxicology report found no drugs or alcohol in his system.


Boyd says police aren’t jumping to conclusions that “this is retribution” but will “look at every aspect of this.”

9.25.14:  Schuette starts confidential school safety hotline


DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced a new hotline and online student safety system called OK2SAY.


Schuette unveiled the program Wednesday at Detroit’s University Prep High School, accompanied by city police Chief James Craig and other school and law enforcement officials.


Schuette’s office says in a statement that the system “enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees.” It’s an outgrowth of the Student Safety Act of 2013.


The system operates all the time and keeps reporting people’s identities confidential unless they voluntary identify themselves.


It’s reachable at the Internet site WWW DOT mi DOT gov SLASH ok2say or by calling 1-8-555-OK2SAY.

9.25.14:  Senate votes to ban use of drones to hunt animals


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Bills in the Michigan Legislature would prohibit the use of a drone to hunt animals.


Legislation approved unanimously Wednesday by the Senate also would ban the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle to interfere with or harass hunters.


Violations of the proposed law would be a misdemeanor and could bring jail time and hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines.


The state Department of Natural Resources says drones haven’t been an issue related to hunting, but lawmakers want to deal with it given the increasing use of drone technology.


The bills now go to the House.

9.25.14  Jimmy John’s says security breach affects Michigan


DETROIT (AP) — Jimmy John’s sandwich chain says it believes customers’ credit card data from 18 Michigan stores may have been stolen as part of a broader security breach.


The Champaign, Illinois-based chain announced Wednesday that 216 stores in 37 states were affected. Michigan locations on the list are in cities including Bay City, Clarkston, East Lansing, Marquette, Royal Oak, Warren and Ypsilanti. A full list is posted online.


Jimmy John’s believes someone stole log-in credentials and remotely installed malware on machines used to swipe credit cards. It says some customers’ credit card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes and names were stolen between June 16 and Sept. 15.


Jimmy John’s said it believes its security has been restored by installing encrypted swipe machines and taking other steps.

9.24.14:  Michigan schools get $3 million in federal grants


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Education Department and four of the state’s school districts have been awarded nearly $3 million in federal grants to improve school safety and learning conditions.


The U.S. Education Department announced the grants Tuesday for the Detroit, Muskegon, Lansing and Pigeon districts. The state will receive about $640,000 to improve support systems and technical support for student learning.


Detroit was awarded more than $705,000 to improve students’ learning and behavior, especially through better responses to mental-health issues.


Lansing schools will receive more than $760,000 to provide violence-related counseling and programs to decrease bullying, violence, gang involvement and substance abuse.


The federal government awarded more than $70 million in 38 states for the new initiatives.

9.23.14:  Lawmakers to OK career, technical education bill


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislature is close to sending Gov. Rick Snyder legislation requiring the state to provide information about career and technical education programs to school officials who ask for it.


The legislation up for a final vote Tuesday in the Senate would also make the Education Department post on its website information about best practices in career tech education. Legislators want to better publicize ways career tech classes can be used to fulfill high school graduation requirements.


The bill would require that students be given information about meeting graduation requirements with career tech programs. Schools would be “strongly encouraged” to create programs whose completion would count toward getting a professional certificate, apprenticeship or college credit in a career and technical field.

9.23.14:  WMU Spanish prof, 65, dies in Kalamazoo YMCA pool


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan University says a 65-year-old Spanish language professor has died after being pulled from the bottom of the swimming pool at a Kalamazoo WMCA.


The university says that Carolyn Harris died at Bronson Methodist Hospital after being found unresponsive in the pool Saturday.


The city’s Department of Public Safety says autopsy results will be released later. It says the death isn’t suspicious.


Harris joined the faculty in 1985 and was honored in 2002 with the Alumni Association Teaching Excellence award.