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.

10.21.14:  Chamber plans petition drive on Michigan roads


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Chamber of Commerce plans a petition drive to force lawmakers to pass a road funding plan or place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.


Group executive director Rich Studley tells Nolan Finley of the Detroit News the chamber is “tired of lame excuses” from the Legislature, which didn’t pass a road-funding fix after months of negotiating over taxes and spending.


The chamber’s petition drive would call for dedicating the state’s 6 percent sales tax on fuel exclusively to roads. Michigan has some of the country’s highest taxes at the pump because the fuel sales tax mostly goes to schools and local governments.


Studley says the threat of reconfiguring the budget to accommodate such a tax could motivate lawmakers to reach their own spending compromise.

10.20.14:  AAA Michigan: Gas prices unchanged in past week


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have held steady from last week for a statewide average of about $3.13 per gallon.


The auto club said Sunday that’s about 35 cents less than this time last year. The statewide average for self-serve unleaded gas fell about 28 cents during the previous two weeks.


Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. It says the cheapest price was $3.07 a gallon in the Traverse City area. The highest average was $3.26 a gallon in the Marquette area.


Gas in the Detroit area fell about 8 cents to $3.09 per gallon.

10.17.14:  Muskegon County opens juvenile transition center


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Muskegon County has opened a $6 million juvenile transition center for housing and treating young offenders.


Judges, law enforcement officials and youth workers attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the building Thursday. The 32-bed facility was constructed along with the nearby adult jail, which is not yet finished.


Juvenile residents are scheduled to move into the building Tuesday. It has four classrooms, two exercise areas, a computer lab and a medical and dental wing.


The center’s youth services director Vernon Oard says the building represents “hope for the future” and isn’t “a place of punishment.”

10.16.14:  Deal expected between Detroit, major creditor


DETROIT (AP) — The judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy is expected to get news of a settlement between the city and a major creditor.


Lawyers have promised to reveal details in court Thursday as the trial on Detroit’s bankruptcy plan nears an end.


A bond insurer, Financial Guaranty Insurance, is considered the most significant opponent of the plan still standing after months of deals between the city and other creditors.


Judge Steven Rhodes, who has presided over the trial since early September, must determine whether Detroit’s plan for exiting bankruptcy is fair and feasible for the long run.


Financial Guaranty has lined up experts who question the plan, but any settlement would eliminate the need for their testimony.


The judge still needs to hear from his own expert, Marti Kopacz.

10.16.14:  Effort aims to improve driver education for youth



DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan effort aims to improve driver education for young people and reduce the risk of crashes by offering scholarships for training courses.


The office of Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Big Brothers Big Sisters are working together on the “Keys to Safe Driving” effort. An event Thursday where scholarships are being presented highlights the involvement of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit.


Johnson’s office says less than half of young people in the Detroit area are licensed within one year of reaching Michigan’s minimum age for licensure, and a little more than half get a license before turning 18. Officials say young people can miss out on training opportunities.


The effort also involves All Star Driver Education and the T. Wall Foundation.



10.16.14:  Officials encourage flu vaccinations in Michigan


OKEMOS, Mich. (AP) — Health officials are encouraging Michigan residents to get flu vaccinations.


The Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan State Medical Society are coming together Thursday at an event in Okemos with hopes of boosting vaccination across the state.


The peak of seasonal flu typically comes between January and April. Health officials warn that influenza is potentially life-threatening, especially for infants and the elderly. During the 2013-2014 flu season, officials say there were three influenza-associated deaths of children in the state.


Last month, the Michigan Department of Community Health announced it was partnering with colleges, universities and others to encourage young adults to get flu vaccinations.