News

7.24.14:  Gilda’s LaughFest to return for 5th year in March

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of an annual festival of laughter in western Michigan say the event will return for its fifth year in March.

 

Dates for the 2015 edition of Gilda’s LaughFest were announced Thursday morning. Organizers say it will take place March 5 to March 15.

 

LaughFest honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.


7.24.14:  Insurers owe nearly $13.2M in refunds in Michigan

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The federal government says more than 184,000 Michigan health insurance customers will benefit from nearly $13.2 million in refunds because of a provision of the nation’s health care law.

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the figures Thursday.

The law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvement or return the difference to consumers and employers.

 

The money won’t necessarily be a check in the mail. Employers can apply rebates in a way that benefits workers or take a discount on future premiums. Individual policyholders owed a rebate will either get a check, a reimbursement to their credit card account or see a reduction in future premiums.


7.24.14:  Statue series grows, to include Betty Ford in 2018

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids Community Legends project has added a sixth statue to a series that will grow to include former first lady Betty Ford four years from now.

 

Organizers on Wednesday unveiled a sculpture of civil rights activist Helen Claytor. It’s part of a series that’s expected to have 25 statues before completion.

 

The project plans sculptures of boxing champion Stanley Ketchel in 2015, businesswoman Anna Sutherland Bissell in 2016 and businessman and politician Julius Houseman in 2017. The Ford sculpture will be installed in 2018, 100 years after her birth.

 

President Gerald Ford died in 2006, and Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.

 

Their hometown was Grand Rapids.


7.24.14:  Man jailed in fatal stabbing of gas station clerk

 

 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Police say they’ve arrested a man in the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old Battle Creek gas station employee.

 

Police answered a call about a robbery and shooting about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the body of Nicole Gates of Battle Creek at a Citgo gas station.

 

Detective Sgt. Jim Martens says it appears that an acquaintance stabbed Gates to death before stealing money, beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

 

Police say they arrested 30-year-old Shawn Pike of Battle Creek about 10:30 a.m. on first-degree murder, robbery and other charges. Police also have arrested a 21-year-old man, whose name wasn’t immediately released.

 

The men are expected to be arraigned Thursday.


7.24.14:  Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

 

The mistake primarily stems from an online form change to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, made Jan. 1 that expanded the field to enter income.

 

Many applicants unnecessarily entered a decimal point and cents that the system ignored. The error led to students being declared eligible for aid when they are not — and ineligible when they are.

 

The Education Department says fewer than 200,000 applicants have been declared eligible when they are not. Officials say data checks to try to identify those students are underway, and the form has been changed.


7.24.14:  Air Algerie plane disappears from radar

 

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.

 

The official Algerian news agency said air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair plane 50 minutes after takeoff. Flight AH5017 had been missing for hours before news was made public.

 

Swiftair, the private Spanish airline, confirmed that 116 people were aboard.

 

The plane’s flight path passes over Mali, where unrest continues in the north.


7.24.14:  Tigers wear down Diamondbacks 11-5

 

PHOENIX (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer, Austin Jackson a three-run double and the Detroit Tigers wore out the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 in a slugfest at Chase Field on Wednesday.

 

Detroit roughed up Trevor Cahill, going up 7-0 after four innings behind Jackson’s big hit and three RBIs by Alex Avila.

 

Arizona clawed its way back against Anibal Sanchez, scoring three runs off him in the fifth and two more over the next two innings.

 

Joba Chamberlain needed one pitch to escape a jam created by Sanchez in the seventh inning and Cabrera put the Tigers up 11-5 in the eighth, hitting his 15th homer off the foul pole in left.

 

Meanwhile the Tigers make a trade.   The first-place Tigers have reinforced the back end of their shaky bullpen, acquiring closer Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for minor league pitchers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.

 

The trade was completed Wednesday night during Texas’ rain-shortened loss to the New York Yankees. Soria says he was informed of the deal during the delay at Yankee Stadium.

 

Soria is 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 17 saves in 19 chances. Detroit has been looking to upgrade a relief corps that ranked 12th out of 15 American League teams with a 4.37 ERA.

 

Soria moves from the last-place Rangers to the AL Central-leading Tigers and gets reunited with the closer he replaced in Texas this season. Joe Nathan, a Rangers reliever from 2012-13, has a 5.89 ERA and 20 saves in 25 tries this year for Detroit.

 


7.23.14:  Chrysler recalls Jeep SUVs for ignition switches

 

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling up to 792,300 older Jeep SUVs worldwide because the ignition switches could cause engine stalling.

 

Tuesday’s recall covers 2005-2007 Grand Cherokees and 2006-2007 Commanders.

 

Chrysler says it’s not sure exactly how many will be recalled. The company says an outside force such as a driver’s knee can knock switches out of the “run” position, shutting off the engine. This disables power-assisted steering and braking and the front air bags might not inflate.

 

Engineers are working on a fix. Chrysler says it knows of no injuries and only one accident. The company says only a few complaints have been filed. Owners should keep clearance between their knees and keys until repairs are made.

 

The recall comes as U.S. safety regulators investigate ignition switch problems across the auto industry.


7.23.14:  Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

 

NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official and online marketplace StubHub say cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 customers’ accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events.

 

The official tells The Associated Press that arrests are expected in a case that sprawls across international borders.

 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday with English and Canadian officials.

 

San Francisco-based StubHub says the thieves got account-holders’ login and password information from data breaches at other websites or from malware on the customers’ computers. The company says it detected the unauthorized transactions last year and gave refunds.


7.23.14:  Malaysia Airlines bodies head for Netherlands

 

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash have left the embattled eastern Ukraine today.

 

They’re headed for the Netherlands for positive identification.

 

The Dutch government has declared today a day of mourning as the country prepares for the arrival of the bodies this afternoon.

 

All 298 people on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the plane was shot down last Thursday over a rebel-controlled area of eastern Ukraine.

 

Ukraine and western nations are pressing pro-Russian rebels to allow an unfettered an investigation, something Russian President Vladimir Putin is promising he’ll use his influence to achieve.