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Whitmer proposes funds to ban guns from the Michigan Capitol

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included funds to implement a complete firearms ban in the state Capitol in her state budget proposal, one month after open carry was banned. The budget proposal and a concealed carry ban would have to be passed by the Republican-led Legislature whose leaders have expressed opposition to such a ban. Whitmer’s proposed $67 billion state budget proposes a $5 million allocation for improving Capitol security. The plan would finance security staffing and equipment like metal detectors needed to implement a weapons ban, including a ban on concealed pistols.


Muskegon puts emphasis on new homes built on vacant lots

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Opportunity is being found in parts of Muskegon hit hard by disinvestment as affordable homes are planned for vacant lots in several neighborhoods. WOOD-TV says construction of the houses is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The homes will be a test to see just how profitable the endeavor could be. Muskegon is home to several hundred vacant lots. Muskegon’s director of economic development says the city has “been very proactive about finding lots that are going to be good opportunities for redevelopment.” The city is partnering with community groups for funding. Federal money also is being used.


Sturgeon show signs of thriving in northern Michigan lake

ONAWAY, Mich. (AP) — It took just over two hours for the 2021 public sturgeon spearing season on Black Lake in northern Michigan to end. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that seven sturgeon were claimed in that time Feb.  6, appearing to show that the ancient species is thriving in the Cheboygan County watershed. Recreational fishing rules allow only seven of the fish to be taken from Black Lake, about 100 miles northeast of Traverse City. Lake sturgeon are bottom-feeding fish that often live well past 100 years and grow past lengths of six feet. Dave Borgeson of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says estimates show the lake system’s adult sturgeon population may have nearly doubled over the course of the last several decades.


Referendum on Michigan’s propane commission to be held

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A statewide referendum will be held to determine whether the Michigan Propane Commission is supported by the propane industry. Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the referendum of Michigan retail propane marketers will be conducted from Monday through Feb. 26. It was authorized by Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell after the Propane Commission Act was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December. As part of the act, there is a framework that creates the commission and requires a vote of the state’s retail propane marketers to authorize funding for its work.


Ferris State adding social justice degree program in fall

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan university next fall will begin offering classes toward a bachelor’s degree in social justice. The program at Ferris State University will be a collaboration between the colleges of arts and sciences, business and health professions. Ferris State vice president Bobby Fleischman says the goal is to turn students into “agents of change.” He said the curriculum will be rooted in history, allowing students to study social movements that had a significant impact on society. Students will examine the causes and consequences of inequality. Ferris State is in Big Rapids, 55 miles north of Grand Rapids.  


General Motors settles with California for $5.75M

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — General Motors Co. has agreed to a $5.75 million settlement with California regarding false statements the company made to investors about problems with its deadly ignition switches. The faulty ignition switches led to at least 124 fatalities and 274 injuries nationwide. The defect also resulted in the recall of more than nine million vehicles in 2014 from the largest U.S. automaker. GM did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement, and the company’s media representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. California’s settlement came about because the state’s largest pension system, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, lost millions of dollars in GM stock.


Police searching for missing couple find 2 bodies in woods

PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities searching for a missing couple near Kalamazoo found two bodies Friday in a wooded area about three miles from their home. Portage police believe the bodies are Gary and Laura Johnson, although identities haven’t been confirmed. The dig occurred at Gourdneck State Game Area in Portage. The Johnsons had been missing for days. Gary Johnson’s employer got suspicious and called police. Their 27-year-old son was arrested on other charges after police entered the home Tuesday and didn’t find the couple. Police say the younger man was found in a storage unit at an apartment building.


Court: Universities can be sued over cancer gene mix-up

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan court has reinstated lawsuits against two universities over mistaken results that were discovered years after two sisters were tested for a high risk of skin cancer. The appeals court says lawsuits filed by a family against the University of Michigan and Yale University were not untimely. In 1999, Michael and Susan Lonsway consulted with a University of Michigan cancer genetics expert because of a family history of melanoma. Blood tests showed one daughter had the gene mutation but the other did not. In 2014, Yale discovered a mix-up and said the girls’ test results should have been reversed. The family didn’t learn about it until more than two years later. 


Court rejects restriction on use of medical marijuana

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Judges can’t prevent people from using medical marijuana while on probation for a crime. The Michigan appeals court ruled in the case of a man who was barred from using medical marijuana for a year despite having a state-issued card. The appeals court says Michigan’s medical marijuana law can trump other laws that conflict with it. The case involved Michael Thue, who was serving a year of probation for a road rage incident in the Traverse City area. Thue’s probation ended in December, making the result moot for him. But the appeals court says the issue needed clarity for any future cases.   


Customs officers find $60K hidden in baggage at airport

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have seized more than $60,000 in undeclared U.S. currency at a Detroit-area airport. Customs and Border Protection says the cash was bundled Feb. 3 in envelopes and concealed in packaging in the baggage of a woman heading to Amsterdam, Netherlands, from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus. It was discovered during an inspection. The woman told officers she only was carrying $1,000. The agency says passengers transporting more than $10,000 in currency must report it to Customs and Border Protection officers when entering or leaving the United States.