Storm leads to travel warnings, power problems
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Snow and ice across southern Michigan are prompting warnings about travel and causing power problems.
The Battle Creek Enquirer and WOOD-TV report that Battle Creek temporarily suspended all public transit services because of the weather conditions. The city says staff would monitor the weather and resume services when conditions improve.
In the Lansing and Jackson areas, WLNS-TV reports at least 4 inches of snow has fallen in places with many accidents and slide-offs happening on the roads. In Eaton County, authorities are warning people to stay off the roads if possible unless necessary.
In southwestern Michigan, Indiana Michigan Power reports that around 1,200 customers are without power in the utility's Michigan service area. The utility says snow and ice weighing down tree limbs and power lines are causing power problems.
Michigan awards $97 million to fix sewer systems
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is providing nearly $100 million in grants and loans to local governments to fix aging or overwhelmed sewer systems.
Gov. Rick Snyder's administration on Wednesday announced more than 90 communities will receive the first round of funding. The governor has proposed setting aside another $97 million in the next fiscal year, too.
The money was generated under a 2002 bond authority and earmarked for sewer planning and projects under a 2012 law.
Department of Environmental Qualify Director Dan Wyant says Michigan's sewer infrastructure is aging and heavy rains are taxing water treatment facilities, allowing raw sewage into the environment. The goal is to provide funding so communities can plan for infrastructure maintenance and improvements.
Demand for the new program is high. More than 580 applications will have to wait.
BAY COUNTY-GAY RIGHTS
Bay County votes down anti-discrimination measure
BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - Leaders in Bay County have rejected a measure to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Bay City Times reports the Bay County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 Tuesday against the ordinance. Before the vote, about 20 members of the public addressed the commission and expressed thoughts on both sides of the issue.
Commissioner Don Tilley, who introduced the measure in January, expressed disappointment with the outcome. He says, however, that changes might be made to Bay County's internal policies that would mimic those in the proposed ordinance.
The ordinance had been in the works for months and was modeled after similar measures adopted in other Michigan communities. The ordinance would have affected entities owned and operated Bay County, as well as contracts the government makes.
State of Michigan fines prison food vendor $98,000
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Corrections has fined its prison food vendor $98,000 for a number of violations, including employees having improper contact with inmates.
The corrections department said Tuesday that Aramark also was penalized for making unauthorized menu substitutions and not preparing the correct number of meals.
According to department spokesman Russ Marlan, most of the improper contact incidents involved Aramark employees and inmates exchanging notes, though he said there was one incident in which an Aramark worker kissed an inmate.
Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler says the Philadelphia-based company is committed to resolving any issues as quickly as possible.
Aramark took over Michigan prison food service operations late last year in a move that eliminated union jobs. The state says the contract will save millions of dollars a year.
Police don't respond to assault at pizza place
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint police were not sent to a Domino's Pizza location when a manager called 911 to report that an employee was being assaulted.
The Flint Journal reviewed the calls made by Heather Napthen. The newspaper reports Napthen called 911 three times on Feb. 20 after an irate customer came into complain about a $97 pizza order.
Napthen is heard saying: "Oh my god, this girl is hitting my employee. I need someone out here now."
A dispatcher responds that no one is available to come and check it out.
Flint Police Chief James Tolbert has said he's "not quite satisfied" with the way the call went. The chief says he wants all police and 911 department employees to receive public service training.
Teacher hearing set in case of boy stuck in chair
GOODRICH, Mich. (AP) - A May hearing has been scheduled for a teacher who could lose her job over a video of a student stuck in a classroom chair.
Goodrich school district lawyer Barbara Ruga says May 21-23 have been set aside as hearing dates for Nicole McVey.
The video was recorded in November at Oaktree Elementary School and released to a TV station in February. Patrick Greenfelder, a lawyer for the boy's family, says McVey and Principal Michael Ellis taunted the fifth-grader, who has Asperger's syndrome.
Ellis resigned. McVey is fighting the Goodrich district's attempt to fire her through the tenure process.
McVey's union believes the hearing will let McVey "provide context and truth about the situation."
The school is about 20 miles southeast of Flint.
DETROIT SCHOOLS REUSE
$5M fund to aid reuse of Detroit school sites
DETROIT (AP) - A $5 million fund is planned to entice developers to breathe new life into vacant Detroit school buildings and other properties.
Tahirih Ziegler, executive director of the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corp., tells The Detroit News that the School Redevelopment fund is a loan program available to for-profit and nonprofit developers for the reuse of properties such as vacant school buildings.
Ziegler says the fund and its partnership with Detroit Public Schools will make financing available for project pre-development, construction and long-term debt needs. It will offer competitive financing to cover acquisition and other development costs.
Across the city, the school district has more than 120 locations for sale, including buildings, parcels of land and parking garages.
An event on school site redevelopment is planned for Thursday.
Apartments proposed for Lansing downtown ballpark
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Lansing Lugnuts fans could see a baseball game without leaving their couch.
Developers are proposing as many as 100 apartments just beyond the outfield wall at Cooley Law School Stadium, the home of the minor league team.
The Lansing State Journal says the apartments are part of a $22 million makeover at the ballpark, which opened in 1996. The city owns the stadium and would have to approve the project and issue $11 million in bonds.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the stadium is a downtown gem, but it needs constant upkeep. The city subsidizes the ballpark from its general budget. Bernero says alternative sources of cash must be pursued.
The Lugnuts are a Class A team affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kalamazoo Valley Community College to ban tobacco
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Kalamazoo Valley Community College's board of trustees has voted to ban tobacco and electronic cigarette use on campus at the end of this year.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the ban would include chewing tobacco, as well as cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other smoking products. As of Jan. 1, people will only be able to smoke in personal vehicles on campus.
The new policy mirrors that of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, which is going tobacco-free as of this September.
Hundreds of other schools in the U.S. have similar policies, including about two dozen colleges and universities in Michigan.
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