7.31.15:  Shoppers head to newest Tanger Outlet Mall



Thousands of shoppers are headed to the grand opening of the Tanger Outlet Mall off US-131 near Byron Center today.


Around 75 stores will open and more are expected next year.

Shoppers began lining up early to take advantage of the sales and added gift cards and discount coupons.


There will be extra police on hand to help direct traffic in the area.

7.31.15:  Crews in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula battle 70-acre wildfire


HUMBOLDT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Crews in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are battling a 70-acre wildfire that’s been fueled by warm weather and strong winds.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the “County Road 601″ wildfire was about 60 percent contained late Thursday and crews planned to return to the scene on Friday.

No injuries have been reported from the fire, which was spotted Thursday afternoon in Marquette County’s Humboldt Township. The fire started in an area where logging had occurred last winter and loggers had begun working this week to test a newly built road.

The cause wasn’t immediately known.

The DNR’s incident commander Pete Glover says: “stumps, debris and stacked piles of logs made for good fuel for the fire, but made it more difficult for firefighters working to build a containment line.”



7.31.15: Michigan officials seek to replace election equipment


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has taken the first steps toward replacing election equipment used in the state’s 4,800 voting precincts that is more than 10 years old.

According to a news release from Secretary of State Ruth Johnson on Thursday, the state is looking for proposals from vendors who offer upgraded voting systems that use a paper ballot. Proposals are due by early September.

Johnson said local clerks have reported that the current equipment is prone to breaking down due to its age.

The news release says that after contracts for new equipment are awarded, some counties may be able to receive new equipment for the August 2016 primary election. The state hopes to roll out the new equipment statewide no later than August 2018.



7.31.15:  Prisoner knocks guard unconscious with padlock in Ionia


IONIA, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a prisoner at Michigan Reformatory in Ionia hit a corrections officer in the back of the head with a padlock, knocking him unconscious.

The attack happened about 10 a.m. Thursday.

Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz says the guard regained consciousness and was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation.

Gautz says the prison placed the suspect in segregation while it investigates.



7.31.15:  Former longtime Michigan lawmaker Harry Gast dies at 94


ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Former longtime Michigan lawmaker Harry Gast, a Republican who served for 32 years and led the state Senate’s budget committee for 18 years, has died. He was 94.

The Starks and Menchinger Chapel says Gast died Thursday at his St. Joseph home.

The lifelong farmer was known for delivering budget news bluntly to legislators and telling them what they didn’t want to hear.

Attorney General Bill Schuette, a former state senator, calls Gast a “tremendous friend and colleague as well as a true fighter and leader.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Al Pscholka says Gast was a “legend” and “giant who cast a large shadow over Lansing and all of Southwest Michigan.”

A funeral and burial will be held Monday. Gast is survived by his wife, three children and many grandchildren.



7.31.15:Hurricane could be headed toward Hawaii 



MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Guillermo has formed in the Pacific and could be headed toward Hawaii. The Category 1 storm has maximum sustained winds near 80 mph and forecasters expect it to get stronger over the next day or two. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Guillermo is headed in Hawaii’s general direction but it’s too early to tell if there will be any danger to land.


7.31.15:  Higher wages a surprising success for Seattle restaurant



SEATTLE (AP) — A restaurant in Seattle has decided to institute the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage two years ahead of schedule.

Menu prices are up 21 percent and you no longer have to tip at Ivar’s Salmon House.

Wages for employees are as much as 60 percent higher than before.

One waitress is saving for accounting classes, and another server is using the added pay to cover increased rent.

Seattle’s law bumped the city’s minimum wage to $11 beginning April 1. Scheduled increases will bring it to $15 within four years for large businesses and seven for smaller ones.



7.31.15:  Beijing selected to host 2022 Winter Olympics



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Beijing will be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee selected Beijing over Almaty,  Kazakhstan today, after hearing final presentations from both countries.

Beijing plans to reuse several venues from the 2008 Summer Olympics it hosted.



7.31.15:  Trade deadline nears and Tigers make a move



— The Pirates have made another move to upgrade their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Joakim Soria from the Tigers for a minor leaguer.

The 31-year-old Soria was 3-1 with 23 saves and a 2.85 ERA in 43 appearances with Detroit this season. He didn’t allow a run in 13 of his last 14 appearances. The deal was made a few hours after the Pirates got versatile reliever Joe Blanton from Kansas City for cash.

Pittsburgh gave up infielder JaCoby Jones. They will have to make a move to create a roster spot when Soria joins the team, which opened a four-game series in Cincinnati on Thursday.

The Tigers also dealt away All-Star left-hander David Price to Toronto earlier Thursday.



Meanwhile, Toronto has acquired All-Star left-hander David Price from the Detroit Tigers, the second major move in less than a week by the Blue Jays as they chase their first postseason appearance since 1993.

After acquiring slugging shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado earlier in the week, the Blue Jays tried to shore up their rotation by adding the top remaining starting pitcher on the market. Johnny Cueto was traded from Cincinnati to Kansas City, and Cole Hamels went from Philadelphia to Texas.

The Blue Jays sent left-handers Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers in the deal, which was announced by both teams Thursday. Price can become a free agent after this season.


The Tigers played Baltimore Thursday night. 

Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs as the Detroit Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 .                          The Tigers kept busy on the bases. Detroit finished with 16 hits. That includes three apiece by Cespedes, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias.



7.30.15:  Manager at credit union admits embezzling $1.9M from vault



NORTON SHORES, Mich. (AP) — Court documents say a manager at a Muskegon County credit union has admitted to embezzling $1.9 million from its cash vault between 2001 and this year.

Kathryn Sue Simmerman has agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement. She was charged Wednesday in federal court in Grand Rapids.

Simmerman’s attorney, Gary Springstead, says she is expected to plead guilty next month. A plea agreement says Simmerman took cash from the vault at Shoreline Federal Credit Union in Norton Shores and hid it in her purse.

Court documents say Simmerman was fired from her job in February.

In a statement, Springstead said Simmerman has cooperated fully with authorities in their investigation.