Fast-food workers walk off job at Detroit location
DETROIT (AP) - Workers walked off their jobs at a fast-food restaurant in Detroit as part of a national protest against low wages.
Dozens of sign-carrying McDonald's employees and others marched in front of the restaurant during the pre-dawn rally Thursday.
Some of their chants included: "Raise the minimum wage" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40 has got to go."
McDonald's maintenance worker Julius Waters was among those protesting. The 29-year-old from Detroit says his $7.40-an-hour wage pays for his transportation to and from work but not much else.
Waters says $15-an-hour would go a long way toward helping him and his 6-year-old son improve their standard of living.
The restaurant industry has said sharply higher wages would lead to steeper prices for customers and fewer opportunities for job seekers.
Michigan braces for blast of cold temperatures
IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) - Cold temperatures are expected across Michigan after an arctic blast swept across the Northern Plains and made its way east.
In Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, temperatures in the teens were reported Thursday morning in Ironwood. In much of the rest of the state, temperatures were in the 30s to 50s, but they were expected to be in the 30s or below by Thursday evening.
A mix of snow and freezing rain is expected in places, making travel difficult. Cold weather is to continue through the weekend.
Gale warnings are in effect Thursday for Lake Superior and parts of northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, with high waves expected. In Lake Superior, the National Weather Service says waves of 18 feet are likely with maximum heights of up to 26 feet.
4th Michigan death now linked to November storm
MOUNT MORRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A fourth death in Michigan has now been linked to a damaging November Midwestern storm that hit the state.
The Flint Journal reports that 57-year-old Richard Battle Sr. died Nov. 20 as result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator he was using in Genesee County's Mount Morris Township, near Flint.
The storm had knocked out power to the area.
The storm hit a few days before Battle's death. Others who died included a motorist in Jackson County whose vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree and a man in Shiawassee County who was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires.
A Detroit boy electrocuted by a downed power line also died after several days in the hospital.
Anti-blight bills headed to Michigan governor
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is close to enacting laws designed to crack down on the owners of blighted properties.
Bipartisan legislation given final approval Thursday by the state Senate would subject property owners to potential jail time if they don't pay blight-related fines.
Other bills designed to fix weaknesses in the current blight enforcement process would streamline the lien process to ensure judgments are paid and streamline procedures to garnish wages from people who don't pay blight fines.
Cities also could decide against issuing zoning approvals or building permits to anyone with blight violations under the legislation.
Supporters say the bills are designed to put teeth into a 10-year-old anti-blight law so there are consequences. Some have complained that banks won't be subject to the new enforcement despite them not maintaining foreclosed homes.
FIRE DEATH-MONROE COUNTY
Authorities: Body found following Monroe Co. fire
LONDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say the body of a person has been found in the basement of a Monroe County home following a fire.
The Monroe Evening News reports the blaze Wednesday afternoon destroyed the home in London Township, located near Milan about 35 miles southwest of Detroit. An autopsy is planned to confirm identification and cause of death.
State police Detective Sgt. Marc Moore says it is believed that the person was initially on the first floor of the home, but the home collapsed into the basement during the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Police: Guns left in vehicles targeted by thieves
DETROIT (AP) - Police say guns left in vehicles in downtown Detroit in part because weapons aren't allowed in nightclubs, the stadium for the Detroit Lions and other venues are being targeted by thieves.
The Detroit News reports Thursday the issue was raised at a recent Detroit police meeting, where command staff analyzed crime trends and discussed possible solutions. A theme of the meeting was getting illegal firearms off the street.
Police Chief James Craig, who was hired in May, said he wasn't previously aware of the thefts.
One officer at the meeting said a Howell woman reported her car stolen outside a Greektown flower shop and that a shotgun and handgun were in the trunk. Others at the meeting noted four thefts of firearms from vehicles over a one week period.
County rejects using reserves to balance budget
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Grand Traverse County officials have rejected plans to spend $1 million in reserves as they consider how to close a short-term deficit and cover a long-term unfunded pension liability.
County commissioners voted last week to use $1 million from their $8 million general fund balance in the fiscal 2014 budget. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports several commissioners reversed course during a committee meeting Wednesday night.
Commissioners rejected the fund balance budget fix in a 4-to-3 vote. Another meeting is planned for next Wednesday.
Commissioner Sonny Wheelock says spending from the general fund balance would be "kicking the can down the road."
The commissioners also face a challenge of covering a $46 million unfunded liability in the pension system for the northwestern Lower Peninsula county.
Toyota to unveil Camry update in couple of weeks
DETROIT (AP) - The top-selling car in America will soon get an update.
Toyota says it's a couple of weeks away from unveiling changes to the midsize Camry sedan, which has only seen a modest sales gain this year.
Bill Fay, head of the Toyota division in the U.S., says the update includes making the front-end stronger to pass a new crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Fay isn't disclosing when the revamped Camry might go on sale. He says engineers are still working on the car.
Through November, Camry sales grew only 1.3 percent to nearly 379,000. Sales for its main rival, the Honda Accord, are up almost 11 percent to over 324,000.
Fay says the changes will help Camry in the most competitive segment in the U.S.
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