10.8.15:  Snyder signs law to let drivers show insurance on phone



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan drivers pulled over by the police will be able to show proof of their auto insurance on a phone or another mobile device instead of having to provide a hard copy under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The law takes effect in three months.

Snyder, who signed it Wednesday, says the goal is to modernize government and make everyday life easier for residents.

The governor also signed a budget bill providing $4.3 million more to intermediate school districts to increase the number of half-day slots in a preschool program. Another new law renames a portion of U.S. 12 in Berrien County for Steven DeVries, a state trooper shot and killed while apprehending a bank robber in 1972.


10.8.15:  Amazon challenges Etsy with Amazon Handmade



NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is launching a site for handcrafted goods called Amazon Handmade, hoping to capitalize on shoppers’ appetite for homemade items ahead of the holiday season.

At launch, Amazon Handmade will include about 5,000 sellers from 50 states and 60 countries offering 80,000 items. It also has a “factory-free” policy for products sold on the site.

The move heats up competition for e-commerce site Etsy, the 10-year-old marketplace for homemade goods that went public in April and has 1.5 million sellers and 21.7 million buyers.

Seattle-based Amazon says the site, which will carry everything from $30 walnut cufflinks from Australia to $325 handmade quilts from Wisconsin, sprang from feedback and site searches for crafty items by some of its 285 million shoppers.



10.8.15:  Michigan moves ahead with reopening of Hiawatha prison



KINCHELOE, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Corrections is moving forward with reopening the Hiawatha Correctional Facility after making about $8.9 million in upgrades at the Upper Peninsula facility.

The department determined it was less expensive to upgrade security at Hiawatha, which closed in 2009, than to make similar changes at nearby Kinross Correctional Facility. The Kinross facility will be closed.

Department spokeswoman Holly Kramer says before month’s end the state plans to empty Kinross, which houses about 1,600 inmates. She says about 1,280 will move to the Hiawatha prison.

Kramer says the rest will move to the nearby Chippewa Correctional Facility, where about 300 beds and 23 employees were added.

The Hiawatha prison will take on the Kinross name once the move is complete.




10.8.15:  Michigan wine industry may suffer after 2 years of bad crops



TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Officials say northern Michigan’s wine industry may suffer following two consecutive years of disappointing grape crops. reports the region’s 2015 crop was hit by a long, cold winter that was followed by a late spring frost and capped by August hail damage.

Linda Jones, a program manager for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, says shoppers likely won’t notice the effect this fall since some are still selling 2013 wines. She says vintners may produce more hard cider this winter to offset the lost grape production

Wine grape farmer Joe Herman is ripping out 5 acres of vines on his property in southwestern Michigan, replacing them with heartier varieties after two extreme winters. The 60-year-old tells the Detroit Free Press: “You adapt to your circumstances or die.”



10.8.15:  Police officer injured after trying to arrest drug dealer



KALAMZOO, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a police officer was injured while trying to arrest a suspected drug dealer in Kalamazoo.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says officers from the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team were conducting surveillance Wednesday when they saw a possible drug deal taking place between two men, who then drove away.

Officers attempted to stop the vehicle when the men jumped out of the still-moving vehicle and fled on foot. Police say the vehicle’s passenger assaulted an officer who was trying to take the 28-year-old into custody and then fled on foot before being caught.

Police say they found suspected crack cocaine that was thrown by the man. The officer was taken to a hospital for treatment of possible broken bones.

Investigators were seeking the driver, a 25-year-old Kalamazoo man.


10.8.15:  Michigan woman gets $2K fine from TSA over apple butter


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan woman is involved in a dispute with the federal Transportation Security Administration over a $2,000 fine for attempting to carry apple butter onto a flight.

Mary Hostein says she was stopped while trying to board a plane in January 2013 because she had a pint-sized jar of apple butter. After she was told she couldn’t bring it onto the plane in her carry-on bag, Hostein says she tried to go through another security line, but she was stopped again and had to leave the apple butter behind.

Hostein says she received a letter a month later saying she was under investigation for attempting to circumvent security.

She says she got another letter last June informing her of the fine.



10.8.15:  Supporters collect $50K to save Grand Rapids Christmas tree



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A fundraising effort has collected enough donations to cover the estimated $50,000 cost to have a lighted Christmas tree outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum.


Kent County Republican Party chairman John Inhulsen and Charlie Secchia, son of former U.S. ambassador Peter Secchia, launched the “Save the Christmas tree” campaign after the museum announced plans to end a 9-year-old tradition.

The museum has coordinated a pre-Christmas lighting ceremony with the opening of the skating sink at Rosa Parks Circle since 2006. But a spokeswoman had said the museum decided to refocus its priorities on programs related to its mission instead of replacing lights for the Christmas tree.


The museum confirmed Wednesday that it will host a tree lighting this year.


10.8.15:  GM recalls SUVs, tells owners not to use windshield wipers



DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is telling owners of some SUVs not to use their windshield wipers because an electrical short could cause the motor to catch fire.

The company is recalling nearly 32,000 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia SUVs from the 2016 model to fix the problem.

Only 6,400 were sold and the rest are being held at dealerships until they are repaired. Most are in North America.

GM says if weather stops owners from taking their SUVs to dealers, it will pick up the vehicles for service. It also will arrange rental cars if parts aren’t available.

Dealers will replace faulty wiper motor covers that allow some electrical terminals to come in contact with each other.

The problem was discovered when a motor overheated at the factory.


10.8.15:  Hundreds of roads remain closed



COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — About 400 roads and bridges across South Carolina remain closed as crews continue to assess damage caused by flooding.

The Emergency Management Division says about two dozen shelters remained open across the state as of Wednesday night.

Officials say electricity has been restored to all but about 200 customers.

A nearly 15-mile stretch of Interstate 95 remains closed between Interstates 20 and 26.

A historic storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of rain onto central South Carolina last weekend left the Black and Pocotaligo rivers overflowing with fast-moving water, meaning inspectors haven’t been able to eyeball the underside of bridges over the waterways.


A boil water advisory in effect for water customers in the Columbia, South Carolina area has been lifted in one municipality.

City officials say customers in the town of Chapin and nearby areas no longer have to boil water before drinking or cooking after tests showed samples were safe.

All of the rest of the city’s 375,000 water customers are still covered under the advisory, which has been in effect all week due to flooding. Officials also caution customers to conserve water usage while crews work to repair damage to the city’s main water source.

Record rainfall caused a breach in the Columbia Canal downstream from the city’s water plant, bringing the canal’s water level to dangerously low levels.


10.8.15:    Finding recorder key to solving the sinking of cargo ship



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Investigators trying to determine why a 790-foot cargo ship stalled and sank in the howling winds of Hurricane Joaquin will be searching for a brightly colored device bolted to the vessel deep in the ocean.

Authorities say the El Faro’s voyage data recorder, similar to the “black box” on an aircraft, would provide a wealth of data on what befell the container ship and the 33 people aboard in the hours before it’s believed to have gone down. The recorder emits a ping for 30 days after hitting the water.

National Transportation Safety Board officials say a deep-diving, remote-controlled submersible could bring the recorder up if the ship is located in some 15,000 feet of water off the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for the crew Wednesday, almost a week after the ship went missing.