10.21.14:  Grants available for animal welfare programs


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering grants of $10,000 or less to shelters and other organizations that work to prevent cruelty to animals.


The agency will allocate $175,000 for the purpose next year and is accepting proposals through Nov. 10.


Registered animal control and animal protection shelters can apply for funds to help increase the adoption rate of sterilized dogs and cats and to enforce anti-cruelty laws.


Grants also could be awarded to train animal control officers, increase the percentage of dogs and cats that are altered when adopted, provide education and training on anti-cruelty laws and proper animal care, and buy needed equipment for such programs.

10.21.14:  Great Lakes water levels rise to above average


PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit says water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron are above average this season for the first time since 1998.


Army Corps watershed hydrology chief Keith Kompoltowicz  says  the lakes are 19 to 20 inches higher than they were at this time last year. A six-month forecast predicts levels will stay about 15 to 19 inches higher than they were last year, or about 2 to 4 inches above average.


September was the first month since December 1998 that the levels were above average. Kompoltowicz says a wet spring and snowy winter contributed to the rising water.


The increase could mean a faster current in the St. Clair River and less beach space, as well as heavier loads on commercial freighters.

10.21.14:  Grand Rapids Community College plans buyouts


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids Community College plans to offer buyouts to some faculty and staff as part of an effort that could save $5 million over the next decade.


The offers seek to trim expenses because of declining enrollment.


School President Steven Ender says any money that the school can save “without having to take a hard look at programs, the better we like that scenario.”


The college’s Board of Trustees approved the buyout offers on Monday night. The college estimates the buyouts would generate $1.3 million in savings over three years if 15 faculty and 10 staff members take them.


The plans come as the college is projecting a budget deficit of between $2 million and $5 million for the 2015-16 school year.


10.21.14:  Chamber plans petition drive on Michigan roads


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Chamber of Commerce plans a petition drive to force lawmakers to pass a road funding plan or place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.


Group executive director Rich Studley tells Nolan Finley of the Detroit News the chamber is “tired of lame excuses” from the Legislature, which didn’t pass a road-funding fix after months of negotiating over taxes and spending.


The chamber’s petition drive would call for dedicating the state’s 6 percent sales tax on fuel exclusively to roads. Michigan has some of the country’s highest taxes at the pump because the fuel sales tax mostly goes to schools and local governments.


Studley says the threat of reconfiguring the budget to accommodate such a tax could motivate lawmakers to reach their own spending compromise.

10.21.14:  Ebola workers get new guidelines


ATLANTA (AP) — Federal officials have released new guidelines for health care workers taking care of Ebola patients.


Health workers had been pushing for guidance since two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected by a Liberian man with Ebola who eventually died.


The guidelines call for being covered head to toe with face shields, hoods, boot covers, and training and monitoring of putting on and taking off protective equipment.


The CDC cannot require hospitals to follow the guidance; it’s merely official advice.

10.21.14:  Pistorius gets prison time in shooting death


LONDON (AP) — The International Paralympic Committee says Oscar Pistorius will be ineligible to compete during his five-year prison sentence.


The double-amputee South African runner, who has won six Paralympic gold medals, was given a five-year jail term Tuesday for killing Reeva Steenkamp.


Although Pistorius could be released after 10 months to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, the IPC says its rules bar him from running in Paralympic events for the full five years.


That would rule the 27-year-old Pistorius out of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.


In 2012, Pistorius became the first double-amputee sprinter to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics in London.

10.21.14:  World Series gets underway in K.C.


KANSAS CITY (AP) — The wait is almost over for the opening game of the World Series.


Game 1 for the Giants and Royals will be played Tuesday night in Kansas City, with James Shields taking the mound for the home team against NLCs most valuable player Madison Bumgarner. Shields is getting the opening game assignment for the third time this post season, while Bumgarner hasn’t allowed a postseason run away from home in an MLB-record 26 2/3 innings. That record goes back to 2010.


The Royals advanced with a four-game sweep of the Orioles in the American League Championship Series while the Giants eliminated the Cardinals in five games to win the NLCS.


Game 2 in the best-of-seven series will be Wednesday night in Kansas City before the series moves to San Francisco.


Jeff Kellogg will be the crew chief for the World Series and oversee four umpires who are working the Fall Classic for the first time. Hunter Wendelstedt, Jerry Meals, Jim Reynolds and Eric Cooper will call their first Series. Ted Barrett and Jeff Nelson round out the seven-man crew.


10.20.14:  Art expert unexpectedly dies


One of the art experts that was invited to take part in the judging of ArtPrize this year has suddenly died.


Susan Sollins led the ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize panel of jurors this year.


She died just days after the prize was awarded in Grand Rapids.


No specific cause of death was given.

10.20.14:  Man dies in house fire in western Michigan


HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A 29-year-old man has died in the first fatal fire at a Holland house since 1996.


The cause still is being investigated, although the fire appears to have started in the back of the two-story home along West 13th Street early Saturday in western Michigan.


The victim was identified as Jeremiah Donald Smith. Fire Lieutenant Andy Stokes says three other people inside the house survived, including a toddler.

10.20.14:  AAA Michigan: Gas prices unchanged in past week


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have held steady from last week for a statewide average of about $3.13 per gallon.


The auto club said Sunday that’s about 35 cents less than this time last year. The statewide average for self-serve unleaded gas fell about 28 cents during the previous two weeks.


Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. It says the cheapest price was $3.07 a gallon in the Traverse City area. The highest average was $3.26 a gallon in the Marquette area.


Gas in the Detroit area fell about 8 cents to $3.09 per gallon.