Snyder declares disasters in 2 Michigan counties
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster in two northern Michigan counties grappling with widespread flooding and wind damage.
Newaygo and Osceola counties are about halfway between Grand Rapids and Traverse City. Since Saturday, they've been hit with severe storms, snowfall and heavy rains.
The disaster declaration issued Thursday lets the state make available resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts.
Snyder cites concerns about damaged buildings, contaminated flood water, slower emergency response times caused by road and bridge closures and loss of electricity.
The governor on Thursday also declared a state of emergency for Marquette County following widespread, severe damage to water and sewer lines caused by this winter's extreme cold.
Judge wants Detroit mayor to back bankruptcy plan
DETROIT (AP) - Looking years ahead, the judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy says he wants assurances from elected leaders that they'll follow the final plan that gets the city back on its feet.
The bankruptcy case is far from over. But Judge Steven Rhodes told city attorneys Thursday it's critical that elected officials fulfill the work of emergency manager Kevyn Orr - if the bankruptcy exit plan is approved by the court.
Without that pledge, Rhodes says it would be hard for him to sign off. Orr would like to see Detroit out of bankruptcy by fall.
Detroit this week got the support of pension funds and a retirees' group to reduce payouts to thousands of retirees as well as employees who qualify for a future pension.
DETROIT BANKRUPTCY-PENSION BOARD
Detroit pension fund backs cuts for police, fire
DETROIT (AP) - Trustees who oversee Detroit's police and fire pensions have voted to endorse a cut in annual cost-of-living payments.
It's the second agreement this week with a city pension fund in Detroit's bankruptcy case. Fund trustees met Thursday.
Police and firefighters would not see a cut in their pension benefits, but the cost-of-living payment would be trimmed to about 1 percent. Other city retirees would get a 4.5 percent cut in their pension and elimination of the cost-of-living payment.
They would also have to return some money received from the pension fund through generous annuities.
Roughly 30,000 retirees and current Detroit employees will vote on the plan in the weeks ahead.
Attorney: Deal reached in sudden acceleration suit
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An attorney representing the family of a 77-year-old Flint-area woman killed when her 2005 Toyota Camry slammed into a tree after alleged sudden acceleration confirms that a deal has been reached in a lawsuit against the carmaker.
West Virginia-based Benjamin Bailey tells The Associated Press Thursday that the case has been "settled to the satisfaction of all parties."
Bailey declined to discuss details of the settlement which will be formally read into the record April 25th in Genesee County Circuit Court. Bailey says he expects details of the deal to be sealed by the court.
Guadalupe Alberto died instantly in the April 2008 crash in Flint.
Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner said Thursday that the automaker is "satisfied that the parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement to settle" the case.
COLLEGE BOARD-TAPING MEETINGS
Lawyer: Emails show college broke open meeting law
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A newspaper says its review of emails it obtained under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act shows that members of the Northwestern Michigan College board violated the state Open Meetings Act when they discussed whether to make video recordings of their meetings.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle says the email shows at least six of seven board members exchanged emails and had other contacts outside of public meetings.
The board voted January 27th to video record its meetings. Board Chairman Douglas Bishop and others had opposed the move in the past.
Michigan Press Association attorney Robin Luce-Herrmann tells the newspaper that the records show "a quorum of the board was deliberating on an issue outside of an open meeting."
Bishop said Thursday he firmly believes the board acted within the law.
Flint plans to start using own river water Monday
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - City officials have opened an intake pipe from the Flint River and plan to begin processing its water next week.
WNEM-TV reports that the intake was opened Thursday afternoon at the Flint water treatment plant.
The Flint Journal reported that about 12 million gallons of water would be brought in for test runs.
The city plans to use water from the Flint River beginning Monday instead of relying on the flow supplied by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. The move is a temporary measure until the Karegnondi Water Authority completes its pipeline in 2016 from Lake Huron.
Public Works Director Howard Croft said Thursday that once the city begins drawing Flint River water officials don't plan on stopping it "until the Karegnondi reaches" the plant "with the raw water."
PRINCIPAL BITTEN-FATHER CHARGED
Principal bitten; parent charged with assault
DETROIT (AP) - A 34-year-old Detroit man has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with a reported attack on the principal of his child's school.
The Wayne County prosecutor's office says Keron Wilson was arraigned Thursday on the misdemeanor in 36th District Court.
The charge is punishable by up to one year in jail.
The prosecutor's office says 40-year-old Philip Van Hooks reported being bitten on the forearm and punched after telling Wilson on Monday why the child was not allowed on a school field trip. Van Hooks is principal at Cooke Elementary in northwest Detroit.
Police: Man fatally shot at Kalamazoo sports bar
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Police in Kalamazoo say a 23-year-old man suspected in the shooting death of another man is an employee at the sports bar where the shooting occurred.
The suspect is expected to be charged with open murder. His name was not released Thursday afternoon.
Officers responded about 1:30 a.m. Thursday to Wayside West after reports of shots fired inside. Damian Tejada was pronounced dead.
The suspect was arrested shortly afterward. Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley declined to say if the man was working when the 23-year-old Tejada was shot.
John Bolenbaugh was standing near Tejada and tells WWMT-TV that the shooter was "unloading the entire weapon" in the bar. Ali Alsakha tells the TV station there were dozens of people who ran from the bar following the shooting.
Mother reports toddler shot after attempted holdup
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Police are investigating a reported robbery that resulted in a toddler being shot in the leg.
WEYI-TV and The Flint Journal report Thursday that the mother of the 19-month-old girl didn't realize her daughter was hurt until an hour after the Wednesday night shooting in Flint.
State police detective Robert Dunham tells the newspaper that someone tried to rob the girl's mother and her boyfriend while they were sitting in a car. Shots were fired at the car when the couple drove off.
The mother noticed her daughter was bleeding when she took the child from her car seat. The girl was in serious condition Thursday at Hurley Medical Center.
No arrests have been made.
ATTEMPTED MURDER-GAS STATION
Charges filed after man hit by car at gas station
DETROIT (AP) - A 39-year-old Detroit man has been charged with assault with intent to murder after a man was struck by a car outside a gas station.
The Wayne County prosecutor's office says Thursday that Bobby Cochran also is charged with felonious assault, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license.
The prosecutor's office says the 35-year-old victim went to the west side gas station on April 7th after his girlfriend called to say she was being followed by someone in a red car. The man questioned the driver of the red car and was hit as he and his girlfriend walked from the gas station.
The victim remains hospitalized.
Cochran was arraigned Thursday. An April 24 preliminary examination was scheduled.
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER-FATAL CRASH
Motorist killed after collision with firefighter
COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A western Michigan volunteer firefighter responding to a head-on crash in Kalamazoo County struck another vehicle, fatally injuring the driver.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the accident occurred Thursday morning as the driver of the vehicle was making a U-turn to avoid a northbound traffic backup created by the initial wreck on Sprinkle Road in Comstock Township.
County Sheriff Richard Fuller said the firefighter was traveling north with lights and sirens on at the time the driver was turning to head south on Sprinkle Road.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The firefighter refused medical attention.
Two motorists involved in the initial head-crash suffered minor injuries.
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