10.21.16:  Michigan Senate OKs bike-safety bills after deadly crash




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan lawmakers are responding to a traffic crash that killed five bicyclists with the approval of legislation governing how drivers should pass cyclists on the road and requiring bike and motorcycle safety instruction in driver education classes.

A bill passed 34-2 by the Senate Thursday would require drivers overtaking a bicycle to pass at least 5 feet to the left. They could pass a bicycle in a no-passing zone if it’s safe.

Another bill approved unanimously would require at least three hours of instruction pertaining to bicycles and motorcycles in driver education classes.

The bills head to the House next.

In June, five cyclists were killed and another four injured near Kalamazoo when a man allegedly plowed his pickup truck into the group.


10.20.16:  Michigan jobless rate edges up to 4.6 percent in September




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.6 percent in September when more people entered the job market.

Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer attributed the increase Wednesday to more people seeking jobs.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget reported total employment rose by 11,000 over the month while the number of people unemployed increased by 4,000. It says the total employment gain for the month followed several monthly employment declines in the state during the middle of the year.

The higher jobless rate was the first monthly increase for the state this year. The September rate was half a percentage point lower than the same month in 2015 and four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 5.0 percent.


10.20.16:  Flint water panel calls for new emergency management rules




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan should consider abandoning its one-person emergency management structure and instead install a team of three experts when deficit-ridden municipalities and school districts fall under state control.

That’s according to a report released Wednesday by a legislative committee that investigated Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis.

Nine current or former government workers have been criminally charged since medical experts detected elevated levels of lead in children due to the water supply in the impoverished city of nearly 100,000.

The report makes a raft of recommendations intended to prevent a repeat of such a crisis in the state.

It suggests replacing lead service pipes statewide, lifting emergency managers’ general immunity from civil lawsuits and prohibiting them from using cost as the primary factor in any decision that will affect public health and safety.


10.20.16:  Drop off unwanted prescriptions at many Michigan sites




DETROIT (AP) — Police departments around Michigan will collect unwanted prescription drugs Saturday at more than 130 locations.

There is no charge, and no questions will be asked.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says the home medicine cabinet is a common plan for prescription drug abusers to find drugs.

Liquids and needles will not be accepted at disposal sites. For a list of sites in Michigan, go to , click the “Got Drugs?” icon and follow the links to a database.

A phone number is also available: (800) 882-9529. The drop-off will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


10.20.16:  Counterfeiting bust at Indiana festival leads to 24 arrests



MANSFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Authorities have seized tens of thousands of suspected counterfeit items from several booths at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana and arrested 24 people.

Indiana State Excise Police Officers say they executed search warrants Wednesday at the event in Mansfield. Charges include forgery and counterfeiting. Those arrested are from states including Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Authorities say the investigation started following citizen complaints in 2015.

Once festival booths were set up this year, undercover officers bought counterfeit items from several booths. Indiana State Excise Police Officers worked with agents from Advanced Investigative Services and Continental Enterprises Inc. on the case.

Items seized were believed to be imitations of brands including Nike, The North Face, Oakley, Adidas, Beats by Dre and professional sports leagues.


10.19.16:  Fiat Chrysler recalls trucks, cars to fix alternator problem




DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 86,000 trucks and police cars mainly in North America to fix a short circuit in the alternators that can cause engine stalling or fires.

The recall covers certain 2007 through 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, as well as Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. Also covered are some 2011 through 2014 Charger police cars.

The company says diodes inside the alternators can wear out under frequent hot-temperature use in commercial fleets. That can cause the short circuits. Fiat Chrysler says it’s aware of one possibly related injury but no crashes. There also have been fires, but an FCA spokesman says he can’t say how many.

FCA will notify customers when they can bring vehicles in for service.


10.19.16:  State spending on private students up 51 percent in 3 years



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A new report says Michigan spent $86 million last academic year to help educate private students in kindergarten through 12th grades, a 51 percent increase from three years before.


The figure was reported Tuesday by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It’s about $29 million more than was spent in the 2012-13 fiscal year.


Michigan has a “shared time” arrangement that provides extra state aid to public schools that enroll nonpublic students in non-core, elective classes.


The number of shared time students last year was 11,300, a fraction of Michigan’s 1.4 million public students. There were 7,700 such students three years ago.


Craig Thiel, senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council, says shared time instruction has seen “prodigious” growth at the same time public school enrollment is decreasing.


10.19.16:  University of Michigan to get $27M for robotics research




DETROIT (AP) — The University of Michigan is set to receive $27 million from a Chinese investment firm to aid in the institution’s driverless vehicle and robotics research.

The university’s President Mark Schlissel and Vice President for Research S. Jack Hu signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday in Shenzhen, China, with Frontt Capital Management Ltd.

The funding will establish a joint research center at the university and assist the construction of a previously announced robotics laboratory and garage. It’ll also provide engineering service and consulting fees for university researchers to advise the firm on design of an autonomous vehicle test facility in Shenzhen.

Schlissel said in a statement that the firm’s investment will help advance mobility across the world.

Officials say they expect the investments to be made over five years, but a starting time hasn’t been finalized.


10.19.16:  Officer kills man accused of firing at Benton Harbor police




BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Police say a man has been fatally shot in southwestern Michigan after officers responding to a call in Benton Harbor suddenly had to defend themselves.

The shooting occurred after 2 a.m. Tuesday. Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis says four officers found no trouble at a home but were fired upon in the neighborhood.

McGinnis says officers ran for cover and one fired at the man, who was killed. Two guns were found.

McGinnis says investigators don’t believe the Benton Harbor officers were being targeted. Lt. Chuck Christensen of the state police says the man who was killed may have fired at least seven shots.

Relatives identified the man as Darius Wimberly. He was nicknamed “Karate” because he taught martial arts to children.


10.18.16:  Flooding closes parts of roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula




MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Flooding following heavy rains is closing portions of some roadways in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says U.S. highway 41 at the Chocolay River in Marquette County is closed Tuesday morning due to water over the roadway and Michigan highway 94 west is closed about 2 miles west of US-41 due to a washout.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning in the area following the rains, which fell starting Monday evening. Forecasters say that flooding is likely along small creeks and streams, rural roads and farmland along with some other low-lying areas.