Bitter cold in Michigan, big pileup near Muskegon
FRUITLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Cold, snowy weather gripping Michigan is being blamed for a 40-vehicle pileup on a western Michigan expressway, injuring a sheriff's deputy.
The Muskegon County sheriff's department says the chain-reaction crash happened Thursday morning on U.S. 31 in Fruitland Township, north of Detroit.
MLive.com says a deputy who sustained minor injuries was the only person reported hurt. Weather-related crashes killed two people Tuesday.
The National Weather Service says temperatures Thursday are well below freezing around the state, with overnight lows of minus 9 at Newberry and minus 8 at Gwinn in the Upper Peninsula. By 1 p.m., the state's hot spot for the day was 21 at Muskegon.
WOOD-TV says Grand Rapids is marking its eighth straight day with measurable snowfall. Grand Rapids has received 11.5 inches so far this year.
Eviction of homeless in Battle Creek is delayed
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - The planned eviction of a group of homeless people camping near an interstate interchange in Battle Creek has been delayed indefinitely.
In an email to city commissioners Wednesday night, City Manager Ken Tsuchiyama said the state transportation department asked the city to delay the eviction.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports no new date was set. Tsuchiyama guessed the delay would be at least a few weeks.
Police had served an eviction notice to the group members Tuesday that gave them until Saturday afternoon to leave the camp on Michigan Department of Transportation land east of M-66.
MDOT has said it requested an eviction notice because of safety issues.
Local officials have been trying to arrange housing. The state hopes those living at the camp will go to a shelter.
Campaign bills win final OK from Mich. Legislature
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers have finished approving bills to double the maximum contributions to political candidates and block a plan to require disclosure of donors to certain kinds of election ads.
The Republican-backed legislation passed the Senate Thursday after narrowly clearing the House a day before.
The bills double campaign finance limits and allow them to rise with inflation over time. Candidates have to file more statements in non-election years, and the legislation now requires political robocalls to include contact information for the groups behind them.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last month proposed public disclosure of who pays for "issue" ads that don't directly ask for a yes or no vote on candidates. But fellow Republicans are putting the current rules into law, saying her move would violate free speech rights.
FATAL CRASH-PREGNANT VICTIM
Man sent to prison for fatal crash in W. Michigan
HASTINGS, Mich. (AP) - A western Michigan man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after smashing his car into a tree, causing his pregnant girlfriend to miscarry and die.
The Barry County prosecutor's office says Derrick McElhaney was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years, 5 months to 22 years, 6 months in prison. He's credited for his seven months in jail and is eligible for parole after serving his minimum sentence.
He pleaded no contest last month to causing death while driving drunk and other charges in a deal that included dropping a second-degree murder charge.
The crash occurred in May in Rutland Township, 35 miles north of Kalamazoo. Faith Allen died two days later.
Fellow passenger Corey Justice has told WOOD-TV that McElhaney was arguing with Allen before the crash.
Ford plans 23 new cars, 5,000 new US jobs in 2014
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford Motor Co. says 2014 will be its busiest year ever, with 23 new vehicles being introduced around the world.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, says Ford will support that growth with 5,000 new hires in the U.S. and 6,000 new jobs in Asia, where it's opening two new plants.
A new F-150 pickup and Mustang sports car are among the vehicles coming next year. Of the 23 new vehicles, Hinrichs says 16 will be sold in the U.S. That's three times the number introduced this year.
Hinrichs made the announcement at an event to introduce a new Ford research vehicle that's testing driverless technology. The top of the car has four sensors that can track moving objects and make a three-dimensional map for the driver.
General Motors sells stake in PSA Peugeot Citroen
DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Co. is unloading its stake in French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.
The Detroit company said Thursday that it has sold its 7 percent stake of 24.8 million shares to institutional investors.
GM didn't disclose the sale price. It bought the stake in March 2012 for $402 million when it announced a car-building alliance with PSA.
GM says in a statement that the alliance will continue. The company says it invested in PSA to support efforts to raise capital, but the support is no longer needed.
PSA has struggled financially as European auto sales have slumped. Earlier this year the company announced plans to shut factories and shed up to 8,000 jobs.
GAS MILEAGE RECORD
US cars and trucks hit record gas mileage in 2012
DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. government says new cars and trucks sold last year averaged 23.6 miles per gallon of gasoline, a record.
Mazda led all auto companies with an average of 27.1 mpg, followed by Honda at 26.6. Chrysler-Fiat had the worst mileage at 20.1, followed by Daimler at 21.1 mpg. All the figures are for combined city and highway driving.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the overall increase for 2012 is 1.2 miles per gallon above 2011. That's the second-largest annual increase in 30 years.
The agency says automakers are increasing mileage by cutting weight and with more efficient engines and transmissions.
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