2.28.17:  Michigan poaching tipster system now accepts text messages




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — If you want to tip off authorities about fish and game violations in Michigan, there’s an easy way: Send a text message.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says its Report All Poaching hotline has begun accepting text messages in addition to telephone calls. The number is 800-292-7800. Text messages may include photos.

The hotline is toll-free and is monitored 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week.

It’s operated by the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, which also offers a web-based reporting form.

After receiving a text, the Report All Poaching system immediately replies with a message stating that a dispatcher soon will be in touch.

The dispatcher will then request details as would be done during a phone call.

The system provides rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of poachers.


2.28.17:  Lansing City Council delays taking up sanctuary city issue




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Consideration of a proposal to make Lansing a sanctuary city for immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission is being delayed.

Lansing City Council President Patricia Spitzley said Monday night that the council won’t take up the sanctuary city matter at least until March. Dunbar says the issue remains “on the radar” and she’s studying language for a new draft of a proposed resolution.

The Lansing State Journal reports several members of the activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, want the Lansing to become a sanctuary city.

Lansing has already deemed itself a “welcoming city.” The newspaper says Lansing doesn’t have its police department ask people for their immigration status.



2.27.17:  Michigan transportation agency to auction excess properties




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An office building and 21 parcels of vacant land owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation are scheduled for public auction.

The excess property will be up for bid on March 20 at the agency’s Office of Aeronautics in Lansing.

Officials say the excess properties are located in counties throughout the state and no longer are needed for transportation purposes.

The properties include a small lot along the Thornapple River in Kent County’s Cascade Township, a more than 100-acre parcel in Gratiot County’s Washington Township and a six-acre site in Macomb County’s Sterling Heights.

Auction rules state that each property will be sold to the highest bidder and for not less than the minimum bid price.




2.27.17:  Warmer weather raises concerns for Michigan’s fruit growers




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Fruit experts in Michigan say they’re concerned about the state’s fruit trees and bushes getting their buds out too early due to the unusually warm weather.

Michigan State University Extension Service fruit educator Mark Longstroth tells MLive the warm temperatures will be “a little worrisome,” if they continue and the buds start waking up in the region’s peach trees and apricot orchards.

Longstroth says that if the buds start swelling now, they could be vulnerable to cold temperatures later this spring.

Steve Tennes, owner of Country Mill Orchard in Charlotte, says an early spring could be devastating. He says he tries to prevent the trees from budding and lessen the risk of a total loss by using frost fans and experimenting with misting.


2.27.17:  Midwest, Wyoming lawmakers target wolf protections again




MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Pressure is building in Congress to take gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list, which would allow farmers to kill the animals if they threaten their livestock.

Representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for a fast floor vote before the season when most cows and sheep will be giving birth begins in earnest. That followed recent testimony before a Senate committee from a Wisconsin farm leader who said producers need to be able to defend their livestock and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, both sides are waiting for a federal appeals court to decide whether to uphold lower court rulings that put wolves in the four states back on the list.


2.27.17:  Statewide average gas prices rise 4 cents




DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 4 cents per gallon in the past week.

The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.30 per gallon. That’s about 54 cents more than it was at the same point last year.

AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.28 per gallon in the Detroit area, where it’s up about 3 cents from a week ago. The highest average was about $2.40 in the Marquette area. It was the seventh consecutive week that Marquette had the highest average price in the state.

Michigan ranks 21st nationally for the most expensive average daily gas price.

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


2.27.17:  Takata guilty plea expected in cover-up of air bag troubles




DETROIT (AP) — Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. is expected to plead guilty Monday to a criminal charge and agree to a $1 billion penalty for concealing a deadly air bag inflator problem.

The company is scheduled to be in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon. Last month it agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud. Three executives also were indicted on charges that they falsified test reports.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 16 people have been killed worldwide and more than 180 have been hurt.

Judge George Caram Steeh is expected to be asked to appoint attorney Kenneth Feinberg to distribute restitution payments to victims and their families.


2.24.17:  Jackson County to appeal decision on meeting prayers




JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A county in southern Michigan says it will ask a full appeals court to consider a decision that halted a tradition of Christian-only prayers at public meetings.

Jackson County commissioners voted unanimously Friday to try to overturn the Feb. 15 decision by a three-judge panel at the appeals court. The county hopes the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will take the case, which would be a rare step.

The panel last week said Jackson County commissioners violated the U.S. Constitution by promoting one faith over others. Meetings typically began with Christian-only prayers offered by a commissioner.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot says the Texas-based First Liberty Institute has agreed to represent the county for free.

Peter Bormuth, who successfully sued the county, predicts commissioners “will take their stubbornness” to the Supreme Court.


2.24.17:   Working to keep schools open




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A few dozen people staged a protest against the potential closings of up to 38 underperforming schools across the state. The group marched from a Lansing church to the state Capitol complex where they were unsuccessful in meeting with Michigan’s director of Technology, Management and Budget. More than half of the schools that could close are in Detroit. Others are in Benton Harbor, Bridgeport, East Detroit, Kalamazoo, Pontiac, River Rouge and Saginaw.

2.24.17:  Classes canceled at Flint school after bus hit by gunshot     




FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A charter school in Flint is closed for the day after a bullet struck a public transit bus carrying students.

The Flint Journal reports Friday’s closure of Madison Academy comes after authorities say a gunshot broke a rear window on a Mass Transportation Authority bus Thursday afternoon on the city’s southeast side.

The newspaper says more than 30 children were aboard. No injuries were reported.

School officials say the shutdown is to ensure the safety of students and to allow authorities time to investigate.

Flint resident Rebekah Fitch had four children on the bus, including two sitting near where the bullet struck after traveling through the window. She says she was terrified when she got a call from one of her children telling her about the shooting.