E-cigarettes ignite debate over regulation, sales
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to kids may seem like a no-brainer, yet Governor Rick Snyder's administration and a number of health advocacy groups oppose legislation that does just that. They say it doesn't go far enough.
Players on both sides of the state's e-cigarette debate agree that the nicotine-dispensing devices should be kept away from minors, but opinions differ when it comes to regulating the relatively unstudied vaporizers.
Tobacco companies support two bipartisan Senate bills prohibiting the sale and use of e-cigarettes and other devices that deliver nicotine if the buyer is younger than 18 years old. The bills unanimously passed the Senate Thursday.
Snyder's administration and health advocates say those bills would give e-cigarettes a "special status" and protect them from standard tobacco regulations.
Battle over new US-Canada bridge moves to court
DETROIT (AP) - The owner of the Ambassador Bridge is asking a judge to stop the U.S. Coast Guard from giving a permit for a new bridge connecting Michigan and Ontario.
Lawyers for the bridge company say it has an exclusive right to provide a bridge between the U.S. and Canada. It wants to build its own second span. The Detroit Free Press says a federal judge in Washington could hold a hearing early in April.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Canada have agreed to build a second bridge over the Detroit River in Detroit. Canada would pay for most of it and be repaid through tolls. The project is moving ahead, although there's no commitment yet from the U.S. government to build an inspection station on the U.S. side.
HOCKEY PLAYER DIES
Players, fans mourn high school hockey player
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (AP) - Fans from an opposing school wore dark red to honor a Grand Rapids-area hockey player who was found dead on the day of a big playoff game.
Grandville played Detroit Catholic Central in a hockey semifinal Friday in Plymouth, hours after co-captain Ryan Fischer died of an enlarged heart.
The Grand Rapids Press says Grandville senior Max Houtman wore Fischer's Number 11 to honor his buddy. Catholic Central's colors are blue and white, but many fans wore Grandville's maroon color as a sign of respect for the 17-year-old.
Catholic Central won the game, 3-0.
Grandville athletic director Brian Parsons says Fischer was a young man "you'd want your daughter to marry."
Fischer had been expected to enroll at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
ELDERLY COUPLE SLAIN
Jury still at work in trial tied to couple's death
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A jury is returning to a Grand Rapids courtroom Monday for the first full day of deliberations in the case of an elderly couple killed at home.
An attorney for Javonte Higgins admits that he stole a car that belonged to David and Vivian Bouwman. But Valerie Foster says that doesn't mean Higgins killed the couple last year.
Foster told jurors Friday that Higgins' DNA was nowhere to be found at the Bouwman home in Kentwood. She reminded them that another set of footprints was outside in the snow.
But prosecutor Chris Becker says it would require "mental gymnastics" to believe that Higgins simply took a car but wasn't involved in the murders.
The Bouwmans were in their early 80s.
No identity yet on woman's body found in garage
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Authorities investigating a woman's body found in a Pontiac garage are gathering more details about the unusual case.
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard (BOO'-shard) says there was a key in the ignition of the car that held the body. But he says the ignition was off, and there still was gas in the tank.
Bouchard wonders if the woman suddenly died while in the rear seat of her Jeep. Her identity hasn't been confirmed yet, but she may have died six years ago. The Jeep was inside a garage attached to a Pontiac home.
Neighbors say the homeowner hasn't been seen in years. The body was found Wednesday.
Bills were automatically paid from a bank account. But a lender foreclosed on the home when money ran out a year ago.
Ex-police detectives convicted in corruption case
DETROIT (AP) - Two former Romulus police detectives have been convicted in a scheme to pay for prostitutes and marijuana with money seized from drug dealers.
The Wayne County prosecutor's office says Larry Droege and Jeremy Channells were convicted Friday of misconduct in office and neglect of duty. They'll get their sentence on March 31st.
Allegations of misconduct and corruption have hounded the Romulus police department. Former Chief Michael St. Andre and three former detectives face trial in July on charges that include conducting a criminal enterprise.
Prosecutors say the case centers on a bogus probe into possible liquor violations, prostitution and drug trafficking at two strip clubs in western Wayne County.
Fraud charge filed against Detroit-area lawyer
DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit-area lawyer has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering.
The charges against Ken Flaska were filed Friday in Detroit federal court. He's accused of obtaining nearly $2.8 million that belonged to his firm or its clients over a nine-year period.
The charges were filed Friday as a criminal information, which means a negotiated guilty plea is likely. The government says it has seized more than $900,000 from Flaska, including $352,000 from the sale of his Grosse Pointe Park home.
He couldn't immediately be reached for comment Saturday.
Flaska is a longtime sailor in races to Mackinac (MAK'-ih-naw) Island. In 2010, he told Grosse Pointe Magazine that he's sailed in dozen of races in the Great Lakes and international waters.
Michigan court rejects censure of tardy judge
DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a deal between a judicial watchdog and a Wayne County judge accused of being repeatedly late for work.
The Judicial Tenure Commission is recommending that Sheila Gibson be censured by the Supreme Court. But in an order released Saturday, the court says that's insufficient.
The court says the commission limited its investigation to a one-week period in 2012. The commission has 42 days to come up with a new recommendation or at least a status report on the case.
The court's vote was 5-1. Justice Michael Cavanagh says he would have accepted the censure recommendation. Justice Mary Beth Kelly didn't participate.
School won't back down on 'Carrie: The Musical'
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) - A Detroit-area school is defending its choice for a spring musical: a stage version of Stephen King's "Carrie."
"Carrie" is the story of a bullied student who uses telekinetic powers to kill her classmates at the school prom. Joe Greene, principal at North Farmington High School, says the musical is a way to examine the impact of bullying and mental illness.
But parent Julie Devine says the play's message suggests that violence is a proper response to despair and bullying. She says it's the wrong message for a school.
The play is set to run May 1st through 4th.
Farmington schools Superintendent Susan Zurvalec says she's received only a handful of objections. She says the production will have "appropriate editing."
UNCLAIMED LOTTERY PRIZE
$138,000 Michigan Lottery prize goes unclaimed
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan Lottery ticket worth more than $138,000 has gone unclaimed for a year and been deposited into the state's fund for K through 12 schools.
The lottery said Friday that the winning Fantasy 5 jackpot from the March 9, 2013 drawing was bought at the Smokers Depot & Convenience store in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.
Terminal-based tickets are valid one year from the draw date.
Another Fantasy 5 top prize of $100,000 is set to expire Tuesday. It was purchased at Gould's Mini Mart in Sand Lake, and the drawing was held March 11th, 2013.
The winning numbers for that drawing were 01-05-15-22-30.
A list of large unclaimed prizes may be found on the Lottery's website at WWW DOT MichiganLottery DOT com .
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.