7.22.14:   State child poverty up, teen deaths down


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The annual Kids Count survey finds child poverty rates rising during 25 years of data-gathering while fewer teens are giving birth or dying.


The report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 32nd in overall child well-being nationally, down one slot since last year.


Michigan’s lowest ranking was in education, where children have struggled in math, reading and graduating on time. But since 1990, the state has seen significant improvements with its children attending preschool and having a parent or guardian with a diploma.


Michigan League for Public Policy says in a statement that “good public policy” has made a difference in some areas. But it’s “not acceptable” that Michigan ranks in the bottom half of the nation and more needs to be done.


7.22.14:   Fruit growers get new disaster relief


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says fruit growers affected by extreme weather conditions in 2012 will now be able to apply for new disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Michigan Democrat is chairwoman of the Senate’s Agriculture and says new provisions in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program as part of the 2014 Farm Bill will extend relief to growers hit by disasters that didn’t have access to crop insurance.


Stabenow noted in a statement that frosts and freezes in 2012 destroyed crops such as cherries and apples in Michigan and elsewhere. Eligible producers will be able to apply for assistance beginning Tuesday through their local Farm Service Agency office.

7.22.14:  Schuette urges changes after killer’s prison break


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is recommending numerous changes in prison security after a convicted quadruple murderer escape earlier this year.


Bill Schuette’s independent investigation into the February escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility flagged problems with video surveillance, fence alarms, prisoner counts and other issues. The report released Monday also says the Michigan Corrections Department should consider whether to re-station armed guards in towers and make perimeter patrol a full-time job again.


Schuette didn’t conclusively determine the lack of staffed towers or continuous perimeter patrols contributed to Michael Elliot’s escape. But his report may be grist for minority Democratic lawmakers and unions who blame the budget cuts.


Schuette says staff failures played a “significant” role. Authorities say Elliot took a woman hostage before he was caught 24 hours later in Indiana.


7.22.14:  Perry sending National Guard to Texas border


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry says he’s deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of “lip service” from the federal government.


Perry said Monday that the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week.


Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S.


Perry says criminals are exploiting the situation for human and drug trafficking.


More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in the region.


The deployment of the National Guard is expected to unfold over the next 30 days.


Democrats and some Texas border sheriffs are criticizing the plan as an ill-conceived militarization.

7.22.14:  Better weather to aid in Washington wildfire fight


SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A huge wildfire covering 379 square miles in Washington state is only 2 percent contained, but fire officials say things are improving.


Cooler temperatures and reduced winds are helping firefighters battle the blaze in Okanogan County, which fire officials estimate has burned about 150 homes.

7.22.14:  Bodies arrive in government-controlled area


KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A train carrying the bodies of many of the victims of last week’s Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine, have arrived in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv.


That’s where authorities have set up a crash investigation center.


The bodies then will be sent to the Netherlands for identification and forensic investigation.


Of the 298 who died, 193 were Dutch citizens.


Meanwhile, in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers are meeting to decide how to respond to the shootdown, which Lithuania’s foreign minister blames on “terrorists supplied by Moscow.”


Meanwhile, protesters marched on the Russian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur today, demanding justice for victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine last week.


Western countries have accused the pro-Russia separatists, possibly with help from Moscow, of shooting down the plane.


A Russian Embassy official says staff members were ordered to stay inside the embassy compound.


7.22.14:  Hunter and Jackson homer for the Tigers


PHOENIX (AP) — Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson homered, Justin Verlander moved into third place on Detroit’s career strikeout list and the Tigers opened their interleague series in Arizona by beating the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Monday night.


Miguel Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with a booming single just below the home run line on the Chase Field porch in left-center.

Hunter had a two-run homer in the second, his fifth in the last 15 games. Jackson added a solo shot. Both were off starter Vidal Nuno.


Verlander allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings to win for the third time in his last four starts. He struck out five to pass Hal Newhouser on the Tigers’ all-time strikeout list.


Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save in 25 opportunities.


Gerardo Parra homered for Arizona.

7.21.14:  Woman recovering after hit & run accident


Police are investigating a hit and run accident that took place last night in Kalamazoo County.


Police say the accident took place around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of West B Avenue and North Ravine Road.   A pick up truck did not yield and struck a car.  That sent the car off the road and ended up on its roof.  The pick up truck driver did not stop.


The victim, Bobbie Sue Prause was trapped in the vehicle until rescue crews arrived.  She is recovering at the hospital.


Police are asking for the public to help them find the driver of the truck.  Police are looking for a black Dodge Ram pick up truck with larger wheels, fog lights  and a large silver toolbox in the back.  The front end of the truck should also have some damage.


Anyone with information can contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office of Silent Observer.



7.21.14:   Body found by kayakers in Grand River


JENISON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found by kayakers in the Grand River near Jenison.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says the body was found around 5 p.m. Sunday near the area of Baldwin Street and river Avenue not far from the I-196 exit to Jenison.

The name and age of the male whose body was found wasn’t immediately released. An autopsy is planned for Monday to confirm the identity and determine cause of death.

7.21.14:  Train derailment in Wisconsin


SLINGER, Wis. (AP) — A fire official says two people are injured and several thousand gallons of diesel fuel have spilled after a train derailment in a small Wisconsin village.


Slinger Fire Department Chief Rick Hanke says three engines and 10 railcars derailed Sunday, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 nearby homes.


He says two people are being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening.


Hanke says about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from an engine. He says hazmat crews have dikes and booms in place.


A spokesman for Canadian National Railway Co. says preliminary reports indicate one of the company’s trains was headed south and struck cars on another train.


Slinger is about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.