3.27.15:  Great Lakes restoration projects in Michigan awarded $5.7M


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Seven projects across Michigan are receiving a total of more than $5.7 million in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Superior Watershed Partnership was awarded over $330,400 to reduce pollution in two rivers in the Upper Peninsula. The federal agency is giving nearly $730,000 to Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative’s Kids Creek restoration project.

Three projects in West Michigan have been awarded almost $1.4 million to improve water quality and protect natural habitats in Tamarack Creek, Bear Lake, and Macatawa River, all of which flow into Lake Michigan.

The agency has given more than $2.5 million to the Nature Conservancy project to reduce nutrient runoff and soil erosion in Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. It also awarded the Stewardship Network with $745,000 to reduce algae blooms in Lake Erie.

3.27.15:  Michigan works with timber company to manage land for deer


L’ANSE, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is working with Plum Creek Timber Co. to manage more than 16,500 acres of Upper Peninsula forest land for winter deer habitat.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the partnership focuses on improving and maintaining conifer cover, which is essential to winter deer survival in the area.

The Lake Superior watershed gets so much annual snowfall that deer migrate from their summer range to wintering areas. Hemlock and other conifer canopies catch snow and reduce the amount of snow on the ground, making it easier for deer to move.

Dense trees also reduce the wind, which helps deer retain body heat.

The project will focus on the Menge Creek area in Baraga County and the Huron Mountains in northeastern Baraga and northwestern Marquette counties.


3.27.15:  Unvaccinated students told to stay home amid chickenpox


BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) — Unvaccinated children at some schools in a Detroit-area district are being told to stay home from classes until April 14 after three cases of chickenpox were diagnosed.

Marcia Wilkinson, director of community relations for Birmingham Public Schools, says the district has been working with about a dozen parents whose apparently unvaccinated children were in classes with affected students.

The Detroit Free Press and report the children must get vaccinated or stay at home at least until it’s clear they don’t have the virus.

Shane Bies, administrator of public health nursing services for the Oakland County Health Department, says exclusion from class is “a very real consequence” of choosing not to immunize children.

The chickenpox illness typically lasts five to 10 days, with symptoms including a rash, blisters and scabs.

3.27.15:  Businesses join Start Garden to boost interactive technology


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Six businesses are joining western Michigan entrepreneur Rick DeVos’ Start Garden venture capital effort to help boost the development of new interactive technologies.

Those involved announced Thursday that Amway, Faurecia, Meijer, Spectrum Health and Priority Health are part of the Seamless Coalition and the Seamless Accelerator. They say the next generation of interactive technologies and connected products will be big business.

The Seamless Accelerator program will provide enterprises with access to emerging technologies and businesses as well as give startups access to ideas and funding. It will include a three-month program. Start Garden will host activity at its 16,000-square-foot site.

Start Garden began in 2012, investing in potential ideas, projects and startup businesses. Seamless Accelerator is a member of TechStars Global Accelerator Network.

3.27.15:  Sierra Leoneans stay home in final push to stop Ebola


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s 6 million people are being confined to their homes for three days beginning today as the West African nation resorts again to a sweeping shutdown in a final push to stamp out Ebola.

Thousands of teams will fan out around the country, knocking on doors to remind people how Ebola is spread and how to prevent it. In the hot spots — the regions around the capital and in the north — health workers will also search for Ebola cases.

The head of Sierra Leone’s Ebola response says a major goal of the campaign is to fight complacency, more than a year after the outbreak was declared in West Africa.

Ebola has infected nearly 12,000 people in Sierra Leone.

3.27.15:  GOP-controlled Senate OKs budget plan


WASHINGTON (AP) — The House and the Senate will have to begin negotiations on a compromise budget in mid-April, when they return from spring recess.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed a balanced-budget plan early this morning that calls for shrinking projected federal deficits by more than $5 trillion over the coming decade by cutting health care and other benefit programs without raising taxes.

It’s similar to a plan passed Wednesday by the GOP-controlled House.

3.27.15:  France asks Germany to provide all information on Germanwings co-pilot


UNDATED (AP) — France’s prime minister is calling on airline Lufthansa to provide all information about Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz , who investigators believe intentionally slammed a plane into a French mountainside, killing himself and the other 149 people on board.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a French network today that Germanwings’ parent company should give the maximum of information “so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific” action.

German authorities have searched Lubitz’ apartment and his parents’ home.


Denmark’s transport minister says a recommendation will be sent Friday to all airlines with a base in the Scandinavian country to have two people in the cockpit when in the air.

Airlines and officials around the world are starting to impose the rule after details emerged that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 had apparently locked himself in the cockpit and deliberated crashed the plane into the mountains below.

Denmark’s transport minister tells TV2 channel that the Danish Transport Authority also would review all physical and mental tests of pilots flying to and from Denmark. German news media have depicted co-pilot Andreas Lubitz as a man with a history of depression who had received psychological treatment.


3.27.15:  4 winners advance, 4 more games tonight


 (AP) — Kentucky doubled up West Virginia 78-39 in a one-sided Midwest Regional semifinal last night that sends the 37-0 Wildcats into the Elite Eight. Trey Lyles scored 14 point and Andrew Harrison added 13 for the 37-0 Wildcats, who face Notre Dame in Saturday’s Midwest final.


Demetrius Jackson scored 20 points and third-seeded Notre Dame dominated Wichita State 81-70 in the Midwest regional semifinals to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in 36 years. Pat Connaughton added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame and Jerian Grant had nine points and 11 assists.


Sam Dekker scored a career-high 23 points, Frank Kaminsky added 19 and top-seeded Wisconsin rallied in the final 10 minutes to hold off North Carolina 79-72 and advance to the final eight of the NCAA Tournament. Zak Showalter came off the bench to score six points in the Badgers’ 19-7 comeback run that sent them into the West Regional final Saturday against No. 2 seed Arizona.


Second-seed Arizona earned the right to play Wisconsin for the West final by rallying past Xavier 68-60. T.J. McConnell scored 17 points for Arizona, which went on a 19-7 run in the final seven minutes to win.



Four regional semifinals are scheduled for tonight. In the East, N.C. State plays Louisville and Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team plays Oklahoma. In the South Region, UCLA plays Gonzaga followed by top-seed Duke taking on Utah out of the Pac-12.

3.26.15:  Ohio House OKs bill banning abortions after 1st heartbeat


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A ban on most abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat has again cleared the Ohio House following a startlingly emotional floor debate in which a veteran female lawmaker revealed she’d been raped and had an abortion.

The bill’s advocates have the rest of the two-year session to lobby its opponents in the state Senate.

Sponsor Christina Hagan said Wednesday her own heartbeat stopped repeatedly while she was being delivered.

Amid the tears and raised voices, the Republican-controlled chamber approved the bill 55-40 in the third such vote in as many sessions.

Proponents defend the bill as life-protecting. Opponents call it unconstitutional and heavy-handed.


3.26.15:  Indiana Gov. Pence set to sign religious objections bill


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor is expected to sign into law a religious objections bill that some convention organizers and business leaders are opposing.

Republican Mike Pence plans to sign the measure Thursday in a private ceremony. It would make Indiana the first state to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. The measure would prohibit state and local laws that “substantially burden” the ability of people, businesses and associations to follow their religious beliefs.