Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST
Michigan unemployment is revised higher, above US rate
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The federal government has corrected Michigan’s unemployment rate upward by 1.7 percentage points, above the U.S. average, citing an outlier in statistical modeling amid sharp job swings during the coronavirus pandemic. The September jobless figure, now 6.3%, had been 4.6% — below the national rate. The October number, also released Wednesday, dipped to 6.1%. The problem stems from inputs into the model for the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area for January, which produced “distortions” in benchmarking factors used for Michigan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. State officials said they notified the agency of the issue in May.
Whitmer urges adults to get COVID-19 booster 6 months out
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is urging all residents ages 18 and older to schedule a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine if they are at least six months from when they were fully vaccinated. The recommendation Wednesday comes as Michigan confronts surging infections and hospitalizations. The governor says residents should act once U.S. regulators allow boosters for anyone 18 and older later this week. More than 1 million booster doses have been administered statewide. Michigan had the country’s second-highest case rate over the last week, and the seven-day average is approaching peaks from April and last December.
Term limits challenge rejected by federal appeals court
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to a Michigan law that restricts how long people can serve in the Legislature. Voters in 1992 endorsed term limits. House members can serve six years while senators can serve eight years. Former lawmakers argued that the law illegally blocks their access to the ballot. But the appeals court says the law controls eligibility, not access. The court says Michigan residents who want to change the law will have to do it at the ballot box, not in a courtroom.
Man convicted of murder; wife’s cereal spiked with heroin
DAVISON, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man accused of spiking his wife’s cereal with heroin has been convicted of murder and other crimes. The medical examiner had classified Christina Harris’ death in 2014 as an accidental overdose. But investigators subsequently alleged that it was a murder scheme hatched by Jason Harris at their Davison home in Genesee County. Family members insisted that Christina didn’t use drugs. Indeed, a sample of frozen breast milk showed no evidence of it. Harris was charged in 2019, five years after his wife’s death. He received $120,000 in life insurance benefits. Two weeks after Christina’s death, another woman moved into the home. Harris faces life in prison.
No charges after man believed car struck deer, not a woman
KENTWOOD, Mich. (AP) — No charges will be filed against an 82-year-old driver who struck and killed a pedestrian in western Michigan. Why? The man insists he believed he hit a deer. The incident occurred in Kentwood in September 2020. Page Stokes was struck at night while crossing a busy street. Her body wasn’t discovered until the next morning in a front yard. According to WOOD-TV, the driver called 911 and said he had hit a deer. He even returned to the neighborhood and put a dead deer in his trunk. But investigators later found Stokes’ DNA on the vehicle. Prosecutor Chris Becker says the story seems “too weird to be true.” But Becker says he would struggle to prove that the man thought he had hit a person.
Pilot among 4 who died in Michigan plane crash was a teacher
BEAVER ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — A pilot who was among four people who died after a plane crash on a Michigan island has been identified as a history teacher. William Julian was flying the plane for Island Airways. It takes travelers between Beaver Island and Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. The 55-year-old was airlifted Saturday to a hospital by the U.S. Coast Guard but died. School principal Marshall Perkins says Julian was a “devoted educator” during his 16 years in the Traverse City district. Federal authorities are investigating the plane crash. An 11-year-old girl survived. Beaver Island is in northern Lake Michigan between Michigan’s two peninsulas.
BATTLE CREEK-BASEBALL TEAM
New baseball team with new name coming to Battle Creek
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — The Battle Creek Bombers baseball team is dissolving after 15 years and will be replaced by a new team with a new name. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Wednesday that the franchise had been owned by the Northwoods League, but now will have local ownership. Former Bombers General Manager Brian Colopy has completed purchase of the team. The community and fans will choose the team’s new name. Fans can submit suggestions for the new name until 5 p.m. Tuesday. Fans also will be able to vote for a final list. The winning submission comes with season tickets — for life.
Camping, lodging fees go up at Michigan state parks
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A night in a sleeping bag is costing more at Michigan campgrounds. Rates have gone up between $2 and $8 a night, depending on the campground and the day. The Department of Natural Resources says it’s the first increase in four years. The DNR says state park attendance has surged 30 percent since 2019, adding to daily operating costs. Some parks have cabins and other lodging. That rate is going up by $10 a night. The DNR says camping and lodging fees account for 51 percent of the money used to operate state parks.
Biden pushes electric vehicle chargers as energy costs spike
DETROIT (AP) — President Joe Biden is highlighting billions of dollars in his big new infrastructure deal to pay for the installation of electric vehicle chargers across the country. It’s an investment Biden says will go a long way in curbing planet-warming carbon emissions while creating good-paying jobs. During a tour of a General Motors plant in Detroit that manufactures electric vehicles, the president got a chance to test drive an electric GMC Hummer, which is being sold at a starting price of $108,700. Currently, the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle sales is one-third the size of the Chinese EV market.
Journalist returns home to Detroit area after Myanmar ordeal
HUNTINGTON WOODS, Mich. (AP) — American journalist Danny Fenster, freed after nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar, says he feels “incredibly fortunate” to be back home in suburban Detroit. The 37-year-old Fenster was greeted by family and friends Tuesday night as he returned to Huntington Woods. He was sentenced last week to 11 years of hard labor in Myanmar, but was handed over Monday to former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson, who helped negotiate his release. Fenster returned to the U.S. earlier Tuesday on a flight that landed in New York. Fenster, the managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, is one of more than 100 journalists, media officials or publishers who have been detained since the Myanmar military ousted the country’s elected government in February.