Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT
$400M shift to Michigan roads would impact other spending
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — To help pave roads and fix bridges, the Republican-led Legislature has passed a state spending plan that would shift $400 million in general funds to the transportation budget.
GOP lawmakers say it could prevent a gasoline tax increase and would spend a record amount on infrastructure. It’s a temporary move that lacks a permanent, dedicated revenue stream for deteriorating roads, however, one that would provide just 20% of the minimum $2 billion experts say is needed annually.
The fund shift, while not a new trend, would impact a variety of spending in other parts of state government. It is drawing criticism from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as she decides what to sign or veto in the budget after she had little input following a breakdown in talks.
GENERAL MOTORS STRIKE
Committees finish work in GM talks, top bargainers take over
DETROIT (AP) — Contract talks between General Motors and striking United Auto Workers took a big step toward an agreement Wednesday when committees finished their work and sent it to the top bargainers.
The move is a sign that contract talks are getting close to finishing. It means that minor issues largely are resolved, and a few bargainers for both sides will now try to come to terms on wages, use of temporary workers and other contentious issues.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) outlined the development in a letter to members. He says the union presented material to GM and is waiting for a response.
The strike by about 49,000 workers is in its 10th day. It has halted production at more than 30 GM factories nationwide.
FATAL CRASH-POLICE CHIEF
Southwestern Michigan police chief dies in vehicle crash
NASHVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan police chief has died after crashing his vehicle into a tree.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Schmaltz says 59-year-old Nashville Police Chief Chris Allen Koster died in the crash about 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Richland Township.
Investigators say Koster’s vehicle went off a road and struck a tree. No other passengers were in Koster’s vehicle at the time of the crash, and police say alcohol isn’t believed to have been a factor.
Nashville is a village of about 1,600 people in Barry County.
Nashville Village President Mike Kenyon said Koster was police chief for about five years. He tells WILX-TV the crash appeared to happen while Koster was driving to work.
EPA-CALIFORNIA WATER QUALITY-THE LATEST
The Latest: San Francisco mayor fed up with Trump’s swipes
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s mayor has rejected a federal claim that there is a link between homelessness and water quality in the area.
Mayor London Breed also said Thursday that she’s “sick” of President Donald Trump taking political swipes at the largely Democratic city.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says California is failing to prevent water pollution, largely because of problems with homelessness in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Trump warned last week of a potential violation notice for San Francisco involving needles and waste being allowed to go through storm drains into the Pacific Ocean.
Breed says there are no needles washing out into San Francisco Bay or the ocean.
Indictment: Soldier in bomb plot wanted to set fire to home
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal grand jury in Kansas has indicted an Army soldier on charges that he distributed explosives information and threatened to set fire to a home.
The indictment charges Jarrett William Smith with two counts related to the explosives and one count linked to trying to gain entry to a home and injure someone listed only as D.H.
Federal prosecutors have said Smith discussed his plan to kill far-left-leaning “antifa” activists and described how to build a bomb that could be triggered by calling a cellphone.
The 24-year-old private first class and infantry soldier from South Carolina is stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was initially charged in a criminal complaint Monday.
2 wolf pups at zoo died of mosquito-borne virus; deer had it
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Two Mexican gray wolf pups at a Michigan zoo have died of a rare mosquito-borne virus as health officials work to curb the spread of the virus in people and animals.
Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek says results this week confirm the pups that died in early September were killed by Eastern equine encephalitis. Separately, in Kent County, a necropsy revealed that a dead deer also had it. The virus was also found in a Newaygo County horse.
The state health department says the virus has been confirmed in humans or animals in at least 13 Michigan counties. Three people have died.
The department is encouraging officials in affected counties to consider postponing or rescheduling evening outdoor events until there’s a hard frost. Aerial spraying is being considered.
DTE Energy aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2050
DETROIT (AP) — DTE Energy says it’s aiming to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
The Detroit-based utility said Thursday it plans to replace one of its coal plants with natural gas in 2022, cutting carbon emissions at that facility by 70%. It also will remove two other coal-fired facilities within the next two decades.
DTE Energy CEO Jerry Norcia says it’s “the right thing to do for our customers, businesses and the environment.”
The company pledged in March to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
The utility provides electricity to more than 2,200,000 customers in Michigan.
Skiles Boyd is DTE Energy’s vice president of environmental management and resources. He says it would take breakthroughs in technology and the law to achieve net-zero emissions.
The estimated cost is unclear.
Voters are anxious and wary as Democrats pursue impeachment
EXTON, Pennsylvania (AP) — Many voters, including Democrats, are expressing wariness about the decision by House Democrats decision to move toward impeaching President Donald Trump.
Associated Press interviews with more than 50 voters in nine states find a range of views — frustration, sadness, anxiety, relief. The responses show the challenges Democrats face if they are to turn what they describe as a principled stand against corruption to their political advantage.
The voters are largely from congressional districts held by first-term Democrats, who are on the front line of the fight against the president.
Some voters who oppose Trump are applauding House Democrats. But others say the ballot box is the best way to unseat him, and moving ahead now on impeachment will only fire up his supporters and distract from other issues.
NY could add menthol to flavor ban as vaping groups sue
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s governor wants to add menthol to the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as the vaping industry sues to nullify it.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Thursday he’s directing his administration to take steps to include menthol in a ban that currently excludes tobacco and menthol flavors.
The vaping industry’s trade group and two New York vaping companies aim to block the ban with a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court.
Bans in New York, Michigan and Rhode Island come as health officials investigate severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.
The Vapor Technology Association’s executive director says New York’s ban unfairly targets former smokers who rely on flavors while failing to address marketing to youth.
Cuomo’s spokesman says children’s future is at stake.