Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Michigan budget tussle is about more than increasing gas tax
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — What is expected to be a protracted tussle over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first budget proposal is about much more than her call to hike fuel taxes.
A resolution, which appears months away, also hinges on the Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers settling big differences over education funding.
Whitmer wants a $527 million boost in the school budget, a 3.5% increase. But it has not been embraced by the Republican-controlled Senate, which supports a $396 million, or 2.7%, boost, partly by trimming other facets of her spending plan.
The Senate also is not supporting Whitmer’s proposal to begin a new “weighted” formula to account for extra costs to educate certain students. How the differences are resolved will affect the finances of every traditional district and charter school in the state.
Pure Michigan’s new album to bring state parks to listeners
DETROIT (AP) — Outdoor enthusiasts soon will be able to appreciate 10 of Michigan’s state parks from their headphones.
Tourism brand Pure Michigan is set to release an album that blends ambient sounds recorded at state parks with music from Michigan artists. Listeners will be able to stream the full album, “Pure Sounds of Michigan,” starting May 22.
The collaboration with Detroit studio Assemble Sound features 10 tracks that capture moments in Michigan’s nature, from beach waves to indigenous birds.
The track “Childhood Memories” includes sounds of children playing in Petoskey State Park alongside music composed by John Beltran. The single was released last month.
Travel Michigan’s vice president, Dave Lorenz, says the project is more than “just the sounds of wave crashing.” He says “it’s truly a one-of-a-kind album that transports listeners.”
Annual NAACP fundraiser in Detroit to attract 10,000 people
DETROIT (AP) — About 10,000 people are expected to attend an annual fundraising dinner for the Detroit NAACP branch.
Democratic presidential hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris will deliver the keynote Sunday evening at the 64th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner at Cobo Center.
Harris is among a crowded field of Democrats seeking to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Others include Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Warren, Booker and Biden have delivered past keynotes at the Detroit dinner. Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton also have given speeches at the event.
Survey seeks residents’ perspectives on bicycling, walking
DETROIT (AP) — Residents across southeastern Michigan are being asked their perspectives on bicycling or walking.
The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) says input from the Pulse of the Region survey will help with developing its regional bicycle and pedestrian plan and coordinate and develop strategies for local mobility issues.
It says gaps and areas where people can’t walk or bike will be reported to local communities for their planning efforts. The Metropolitan Affairs Coalition is working with SEMCOG on the survey.
SEMCOG Executive Director Kathleen Lomako says bicycle and pedestrian travel is an important part of the region’s transportation system.
SEMCOG supports coordinated local planning with technical, data and intergovernmental resources. It serves Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.
MICHIGAN STATE-LEADER’S HEALTH
Acting Michigan State president falls ill at commencement
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The acting president of Michigan State University Satish Udpa suffered what officials are calling a “health incident” during commencement ceremonies in East Lansing.
Udpa was taken to a hospital after falling on stage Friday. The nature of Udpa’s health problem wasn’t immediately revealed.
University spokeswoman Emily Guerrant told The Detroit News that Udpa is receiving medical attention and “everyone in the Spartan community has he, Lalita and their family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Udpa, university administrator and former engineering dean, was named acting president in January after the forced resignation of interim President John Engler.
Engler was ousted after saying some victims enjoyed publicity from the scandal involving imprisoned sexual abuser Larry Nassar, a campus sports doctor.
FIAT CHRYSLER-DETROIT LAND
Detroit reaches land deals for new Fiat Chrysler plant plan
DETROIT (AP) — Land deals that will allow Fiat Chrysler to build a new assembly plant in Detroit are expected to cost the city and state about $107 million.
Mayor Mike Duggan released details Friday of agreements reached for nearly 215 acres (87 hectares) on the city’s eastside that the automaker wants as part of a $1.6 billion investment .
About 155 acres (62-hectares) are owned by the city and the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
Deals have been reached with several major property owners, including 82 acres (33 hectares) from a company owned by the family of businessman Manuel “Matty” Moroun.
Duggan’s office says Detroit will use $36 million in bond funding, a $7.5 million loan from the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and just over $7 million from the sale of a city-owned garage.
Another $57 million in grants and loans has been requested from the state.
The project has to be approved by the City Council.
Judge rejects 6-month suspension in major Flint water case
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge has rejected a six-month freeze in the involuntary manslaughter case of Michigan’s former health director, who is the highest-ranking official charged in the Flint water scandal.
A new team of prosecutors wanted more time to assess and collect more evidence after learning about 23 boxes of records in a state basement. But Judge Joseph Farah on Friday said the discovery has no practical impact on his next step.
Farah must decide whether to affirm or throw out another judge’s decision to send Nick Lyon to trial. Lyon is accused of failing to timely warn the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease while Flint was using the Flint River in 2014-15.
Farah said he’ll make his ruling no later than June 14, a month later than planned.
PARENTS SHOT-MAN CHARGED
Detroit man charged in slaying of father, wounding of mother
DETROIT (AP) — A 35-year-old Detroit man has been charged in the fatal shooting of his father and wounding of his mother.
The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says Alton Lyons was arraigned Friday on first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and gun charges.
Lyons was arrested Wednesday outside his parents’ northwest Detroit home. The body of 60-year-old Ardel Hough was found inside the home by police. Officers also found 64-year-old Melissa Hough suffering from a gunshot wound to her body. She has been hospitalized.
Lyons was not represented Friday by an attorney and is jailed without bond. He faces a May 17 probable cause conference and May 24 preliminary examination.
Rocker Jack White receives honorary doctorate in Detroit
DETROIT (AP) — Rocker Jack White is now a doctor.
The Detroit-born singer, songwriter and producer received an honorary doctorate of humane letters Friday from Wayne State University, which he briefly attended. The school cited “his dedication to Detroit and significant contributions to the arts.”
White also was lauded for his local philanthropy. White says he could initially only afford a few film classes at the school, but they inspired his craft.
The 43-year-old White has earned multiple Grammy awards and nominations both as a solo artist and as a member of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.
White founded Third Man Records in Detroit in 2001 before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee. He opened a Third Man retail store near Wayne State in 2015 and added a vinyl record pressing plant a couple years later.
GERALD FORD GRAVE
2 face charges related to vandalism of Gerald Ford gravesite
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say two people suspected of defacing the gravesite of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford have been charged with misdemeanors.
Prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have charged Christian Johnson with malicious destruction of tombs and memorials and Alexis Binkert with receiving and concealing stolen property.
Police had released a photo that appears to show Johnson marking or digging into panels that say, “Lives Committed to God, Country and Love.” They had been skateboarding in the area and stopped.
Police say they turned themselves in after the March 27 incident and returned a missing letter. Johnson has told The Grand Rapids Press he was sorry and didn’t know what the gravesite was.
Both await arraignment.
The Fords are buried outside a museum dedicated to Gerald Ford’s presidency.