9.1.14:  Michigan doing good job on child support


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan government audit of $2.6 billion in child support payments says that the office in charge of collecting the money is doing an effective job in making sure that parents pay what they owe and care-givers get what’s coming to them.


The Michigan Office of the Auditor General released a report Friday on the handling of payments from June 1, 2012, to March 31, 2014.


The state Department of Human Services says the audit concludes that its Office of Child Support “is effective in ensuring that child support collection and distribution is accurate and timely.”


The audit says that a private contractor distributing the money did so with 99.9 percent accuracy during the 21-month period.

9.1.14:  Labor Bridge Walk brings thousands


ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in the Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge — and they’ll be joined by one robot.


Gov. Rick Snyder will lead the annual trek Monday across the 5-mile-long bridge linking Michigan’s two peninsulas. His office says he’ll walk alongside a robot constructed for the occasion by the FIRST robotics team from Macomb International Academy in the town of Armada.


FIRST is a program that encourages young people to learn about science and technology.


Several of the program’s students, teachers and mentors will join Snyder and the robot, which can travel up to 10 mph and is known as “The Pi Guy.”


The bridge walk begins at 7 a.m., although walkers are allowed to start as late as 11 a.m.

9.1.14:  US judge blocks enforcement of new La abortion law


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law.


District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect today, but he says officials cannot penalize the doctors and clinics that sued for breaking it until after a hearing.


The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

9.1.14:  Americans detained in North Korea call for US help


PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea has given foreign media access to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and — watched by officials as they spoke — called for Washington to send a representative to negotiate for their freedom.


The three all described their situations as urgent.


American tourists Jeffrey Fowle and Mathew Miller, expected to face trial within a month for alleged anti-state crimes, said they do not know what punishment they could face or what the specific charges against them are. Kenneth Bae, a tour guide and missionary serving a 15-year sentence, said his health has deteriorated at the labor camp where he works eight hours a day.


They spoke with The Associated Press at a conference center in Pyongyang.

9.1.14:  Tigers fall to White Sox


CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Quintana allowed two runs over seven innings to earn his first win in more than a month as the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 6-2 yesterday. The White Sox took advantage of a season-high four errors by the Tigers to salvage a four-game split. Adam Eaton doubled twice and scored two runs.

The Detroit Tigers withheld slugger Miguel Cabrera from the lineup for yesterday’s game against the Chicago White Sox because of a sore right ankle. Manager Brad Ausmus says he’s day to day. Cabrera left in the fourth inning of the second game of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader after struggling to run out a grounder.

8.29.14:  Chicago-bound Amtrak train hits car in Michigan


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a Chicago-bound Amtrak train hit a car that got stuck on tracks in southwestern Michigan, destroying the car.


No injuries are reported following the crash about 10 p.m. Thursday in Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township. Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Kelly says the car had tried to use a crossing that was closed for maintenance when it got stuck.


Kelly says two people in the care got out before the train, which was traveling about 60 miles per hour, struck the car.


Kelly says there were roughly 190 people aboard the train. He says the driver likely will face a misdemeanor charge and could be forced to pay for damage.


8.29.14:  West Nile Virus found in Michigan horse, turkeys


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have confirmed the West Nile Virus has been found in a northern Michigan horse and a mid-Michigan turkey flock.


The state Agriculture and Community Health departments said Thursday an 8-year-old horse from Grand Traverse County tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus this month. It was euthanized after it didn’t respond to treatment.


The disease affects humans and animals. Symptoms in horses include stumbling, tremors, facial paralysis, impaired vision and seizures.


Officials say there hasn’t been a human case of the virus this season.


They say turkeys in a small flock in Ingham County were infected with the disease and were dying at a high rate.


A state veterinarian says people should be diligent about vaccinating horses, using bug repellent and keeping water troughs clean.

8.29.14:  Swim across Straits of Mackinac planned for 2015


ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — A long-distance swimmer from Michigan is hoping to start a new Labor Day tradition next year with a swim across the Straits of Mackinac.


Jim Dreyer, who is serving as event director of the 2015 Mighty Mac Swim, announced the plans on Friday. Dreyer says the swim will take place alongside the annual Bridge Walk, which draws thousands each year to make a 5-mile crossing on the Mackinac Bridge.


Dreyer says the Sept. 7, 2015 swim between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas will serve as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Michigan.


On Labor Day in 2007, Dreyer organized a swim across the straits as part of a 50th anniversary celebration for the suspension bridge.


Dreyer has made direct crossings of the five Great Lakes.


8.29.14:  Consumers Energy updates Michigan utility meters


JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Consumers Energy is speeding up its plan to update electric meters for homes and businesses across Michigan.


The CMS Energy Corp. unit says it plans to update 1.8 million electric meters and 600,000 natural gas meters by the end of 2017. That’s two years earlier than it originally scheduled. The new meters let customers track their energy use online.


A Consumers Energy vice president says growing customer interest caused the company to shorten the timeline. He says it has started updating meters in western Michigan and will be updating meters in other regions by the middle of 2015.


It also plans to launch a new system for outage notifications in 2016.


More than 275,000 western Michigan residents and small business owners have gotten meter updates since summer 2012.

8.29.14  Israel identifies body as missing American student


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say a recently found body has been identified after a forensic investigation as that of a U.S. religious student who disappeared while hiking in Jerusalem last week.


Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says the body was confirmed early on Friday morning to be that of seminary student Aharon Sofer. She says “there is no suspicion of foul play,” meaning Sofer’s death was not a militant attack or a criminal attack.


Samri had no further details on how Sofer died.


The body was found on Thursday night in the same area where Sofer disappeared last week. The 23-year-old Sofer, of Lakewood, New Jersey, had been hiking with a friend in a hilly, forested area on the outskirts of Jerusalem.


Sofer’s parents had flown to Israel to assist with the search.