Michigan News

Insects and diseases are posing a threat to Michigan's forests.

That's according to a report released yesterday by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The report, which is a part of the National Forest Health Monitoring Program, includes an analysis of issues that threaten Michigan's 20 million acres of forest land for 2016.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers and local officials will try again this year to shut down a tax break that’s allowed big box stores to cut their property taxes.

 

A controversial item in the current budget is the focus of a lawsuit filed today.

 

Concealed pistol licenses way up in Mich.

Mar 21, 2017

The number of concealed pistol licenses approved in Michigan surged 42% last year, compared to the year before. That's according to a recent report from the Michigan State Police.

About 170,000 concealed pistol licenses were issued in Michigan in the year ending September 30, 2016.

That's up from approximately 120,000  issued the previous year, and from about 37,000 issued ten years ago.

According to the State Police, there are slightly more than 600,000 active concealed pistol licenses in Michigan.

Anyone who drives in Michigan is no stranger to the high cost of auto insurance in the state.

A study from gobankingrates.com finds the high cost of insurance contributes to Michigan being the most expensive state to own a car.

According to the study, it costs nearly $5,000 annually to own and maintain a vehicle in Michigan, with more than half that cost coming in the form of auto insurance premiums.

The city of Flint will start cutting off service to delinquent residential water customers next month.

The city plans to cutoff water service at two apartment complexes and 18 residential customers that are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

A city spokeswoman says the accounts have not been paid for at least five months, and have racked up more than $2,500 to $6,000 in unpaid bills.  In some cases, the water and sewer bills haven’t been paid for years.

The effort to allow any Michigan voter to request an absentee ballot may be close to critical mass in the state Senate. That’s as more Republicans are accepting the idea that anyone who wants to mail in or drop off their ballot should be allowed to without having to lie to do it.

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A new report is raising questions about transparency in Michigan Supreme Court elections.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says in 2016 so-called "dark money" helped the two Republican incumbents outspend their Democratic challengers by more than 30 to one.

A new bill introduced by Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters proposes a comprehensive review of the U.S. criminal justice system. The bill has received bipartisan support, as well as the support of many major police organizations and civil rights groups.

"When you combine all the support, I believe that's the kind of coalition necessary to give this commission the political power to see it's recommendations actually enacted into law," Peters said. 

JCPenney released its list of 138 planned store closures nationwide, including seven Michigan stores. The closures are part of a plan to "optimize its national retail operations" in order to return to profitability, according to the company. It will also relocate a supply chain facility in Buena Park, California. The closures will cut about 5,000 jobs nationwide. JCPenney says it will provide outplacement support services for eligible associates. Liquidation of the stores will begin April 17.

The stores to be closed in Michigan are:

Lakeview Square Mall, Battle Creek

The city of Flint is getting a big bundle of cash from the federal government to help the city’s recovery from its water crisis.

Congress approved $100 million for Flint last year, but it took until this week for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to formally award it.  

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” Pruitt said in a written statement, “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

Michigan’s Irish traditions go back nearly 250 years.

The first Irish immigrants largely settled on the East Coast, in large cities like Boston and New York. But they soon started heading west.

Because Detroit was founded by the French, it was an established as a Catholic city, which was attractive to many of the Irish facing persecution by Protestants back home.

A federal judge says ET Rover Pipeline can immediately seize land from 58 private property owners in Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.

The company said delay would add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of building the new natural gas pipeline.

One of the properties affected by the order is Post 46 Hunting and Fishing Club, which owns 90 acres of wooded land in Pinckney.

Board member Brad Coy says workers have already started to prepare a path for the pipeline.

The governor and legislature would be subject to public records requests, under bills approved by the state House today.

“When you exempt the governor and you exempt the state legislature from the Freedom of Information Act, it’s not true transparency,” said state Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, a bill sponsor. “So this is a victory for citizens of the state of Michigan and journalists alike to learn a little more about how their government works.”

Pressure’s growing on Michigan’s congressional Republicans who have to make a decision whether to support a healthcare overhaul that could be voted on next week.

AARP of Michigan says the proposed replacement to Obamacare would mean higher costs for older people.

“It is simply unacceptable,” said Paula Cunningham, state director of the AARP of Michigan. She says the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act would mean higher costs for older people.

“Do the math,” she said. “You know, what does that do to their income?”

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