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Snyder’s priorities include fees for environmental cleanup

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says his legislative priorities before leaving office include pushing through fee increases to pay for environmental cleanup, water infrastructure and recycling needs.

The Republican governor met with GOP lawmakers Thursday, the beginning of the “lame-duck” period. It’s a final chance for Republicans to enact bills before Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer takes office in January.

Snyder also wants to work on a supplemental budget bill. He did not mention minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives the Legislature enacted two months ago, but business groups want the Republican-led Legislature to amend those laws despite objections from Democrats.

Snyder has proposed raising the landfill dumping fee and imposing a new state fee on water customers.


Officials: No emerging threat in contamination from air base

(Information from: The Detroit News,

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan environmental officials say there’s no emerging threat of chemical contamination in the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair watershed despite tests that found contamination from Selfridge Air National Guard Base .

The Detroit News reports that was the message to area residents at a Thursday night community briefing in suburban Detroit.

Tracy Kecskemeti, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s southeast Michigan district coordinator, says “we do not have the public health crisis or impact you have in other parts of the state.” She says “public water supplies are safe.”

Tests performed by environmental regulators found perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances , known as PFAS, and indicated Selfridge is a source for PFAS in the lake. The base in Harrison Township was among many to use a PFAS-laden foam for training and firefighting.



Small businesses awarded grants for innovative growth ideas

DETROIT (AP) — About two dozen small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park will share $260,000 in grants.

The New Economy Initiative says the awards are part of its NEIdeas Small Business Challenge, a program geared to existing businesses.

Businesses that are at least three years old are asked to share their ideas for growth for a chance to win cash grants to get it done.

Since 2014, NEIdeas has awarded more than $2 million to 144 businesses — including $10,000 each to this year’s 26 winners. About 77 percent of this year’s winners are minority-owned and 65 percent are owned by women.

New Economy Initiative Director Pam Lewis says “though they might lack capital and connections to resources, neighborhood small businesses have no shortage of great ideas for growth.”


A light shade of blue: Democrat wins in conservative county

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A Democrat has won an election in one of Michigan’s most Republican counties.

On his third try, Doug Zylstra made history Tuesday by winning a seat on the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners from a district in Holland. The Holland Sentinel says it’s a first for a Democrat.

Ottawa County in western Michigan has always been reliable for the GOP. Bill Schuette got 60 percent of the vote in Ottawa in his unsuccessful bid for governor. President Donald Trump got 62 percent in 2016. Nine of 11 Republicans running for the county board didn’t have a Democratic opponent.

Zylstra says his vote totals improved over three runs for office. He says his goal is “not to be an adversary” on the board but to effectively represent his constituents in Holland.


Snyder lowers flags to honor victims of bar shooting

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder is joining President Donald Trump’s call to lower Michigan and U.S. flags to half-staff through sunset on Saturday to honor the victims of the mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff. Flags should be returned to full-staff Saturday evening.

When flown at half-staff, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first to its peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff. The flag should again be raised to full staff before being lowered for the day.

Authorities say a Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, killing 12 people before apparently taking his own life.


San Francisco Opera removes singer accused of sex assault

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Opera says it has removed countertenor David Daniels from an upcoming production of Handel’s “Orlando” due to sexual assault allegations against the singer.

Daniels was sued last month by a student at the University of Michigan, where the singer is a professor, for sexual assault.

The San Francisco Opera on Thursday cited the lawsuit and allegations against Daniels as the reason for his removal from the June 2019 production. No replacement has been named.

The lawsuit filed in a Michigan federal court alleges Daniels groped the male student and sent and requested sexual photos. The lawsuit also alleges that Daniels served the student alcohol, gave him sleep medication and touched him sexually.

A message sent to Daniels’ representative was not immediately returned.


Michigan man’s bone mistakenly buried with teen’s remains

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials say a bone from the remains of a man found dead in 2016 was mistakenly buried with the remains of a teenage girl found dead in 1975.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office discovered the error this week while reviewing Darlene McKenzie’s case after the family complained of having to pick up additional remains.

The medical examiner’s office says that a bone from Donald Smith’s remains was mistakenly released last year with McKenzie’s remains, which were buried in Pontiac in February 2017.

The remains were both tested at the University of North Texas in 2016.

The office says it received additional remains belonging to McKenzie from the university in April 2017. McKenzie’s family didn’t pick up the remains until this week.

Office administrator Casimir Miarka says staff are working to fix the error.


LGBT triumphs: 2 governorships, at least 9 seats in Congress

LGBT candidates scored a raft of notable midterm election victories — winning two governorships, at least nine seats in Congress, and their first-ever legislative seats in Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska.

In Colorado, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis became the first openly gay man elected as a governor of any state. In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin — who in 2012 became the first openly gay person to win a U.S. Senate seat — easily won re-election despite being targeted by outside conservative groups that spent millions attacking her.

In races for the U.S. house, a record eight LGBT candidates won seats for the Democrats. Four incumbents will be joined in January by newcomers Katie Hill of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire


Shirkey, Chatfield will lead GOP-led Michigan Legislature

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lawmakers have been chosen to lead the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature starting next year.

Returning senators and senators-elect on Thursday elected Sen. Mike Shirkey of Clarklake to lead the Republican caucus from 2019 through 2022. Sen. Jim Ananich of Flint will continue leading Democrats.

In the House, Republican Rep. Lee Chatfield of Levering will be the next speaker, and Rep. Christine Greig of Farmington Hills will lead Democrats.

Three of the four current top legislative leaders are leaving office due to term limits.


Record soybean harvest expected amid continued trade dispute

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are expected to harvest the largest soybean crop on record but must deal with a constricted market in which to sell the crop because of President Donald Trump’s tariff battle with China.

In its latest update released Thursday, the USDA places the expected soybean harvest at 4.6 billion bushels, the largest ever.

Illinois leads soybean production with 688 million bushels and Iowa is second.

Selling soybeans to China has nearly halted with the tariff dispute resulting in a growing stockpile and the lowest prices for farmers in more than a decade.

Corn production is estimated at 14.6 billion bushels, the second largest crop on record.

Iowa remains the nation’s leading corn producer with an expected 2.5 billion bushels.