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Snyder confirms Lincoln Park financial emergency

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has confirmed his earlier determination that a financial emergency exists in the Detroit suburb of Lincoln Park, giving the City Council seven days to pick a way out of the crisis.

Snyder's original finding was April 14. Lincoln Park is south of Detroit and has 38,000 residents.

Snyder says Lincoln Park's budget was $90,000 in the red by last summer. A $4.5 million balance in the city's general fund has been depleted over three years, and city officials say the deficit likely will grow by at least $1 million this fiscal year.

Lincoln Park's council can choose a consent agreement with the state, the appointment of an emergency manager, a neutral evaluation or a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.


Experts tapped to help judge in Detroit bankruptcy

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy has selected experts from Boston and New York to advise him on the city's plan to get out of Chapter 9.

Marti Kopacz (KO'-paz) of Phoenix Management Services will be the court's expert witness. She'll give opinions on whether Detroit's plan is feasible and whether the forecast for future revenues and expenses is reasonable.

Kopacz will testify this summer when Judge Steven Rhodes holds a trial on Detroit's bankruptcy exit plan.

Rhodes also is tapping ex-New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch for help. Ravitch won't be testifying, but he'll be a consultant working for free.

Rhodes interviewed five candidates Friday.

Detroit officials say they hope to leave bankruptcy by fall. Thousands of retirees and current workers soon will vote on cuts in pension payouts.


Michigan murderer who escaped scheduled for court

IONIA, Mich. (AP) - A convicted murderer who escaped from a Michigan prison in February faces a court hearing Wednesday on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges.

Michael Elliot is being arraigned in Ionia District Court. He's scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. via video conference to save transportation costs.

Elliot was captured Feb. 3 in LaPorte County, Ind., one day after escaping from Ionia Correctional Facility in western Michigan. Authorities say the 40-year-old slipped under gates and made holes in fences to get away before carjacking a woman in Ionia.

The woman escaped in Indiana.

Elliot is serving life without parole for first-degree murder in the shooting of four people during the 1993 robbery of a drug dealer. A co-defendant admits pulling the trigger, and Elliot says he's innocent.


Feds investigating brakes on Chevrolet Impala

DETROIT (AP) - Federal regulators are investigating the 2014 Chevrolet Impala after a driver reported that the emergency braking system activated multiple times without warning.

The driver says that in one instance, the Impala was traveling at 40 miles per hour with no one in front of it when the brakes activated. The car was struck in the rear by another vehicle. No injuries were reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the investigation to determine whether the alleged defect is widespread. About 60,580 Impalas of the 2014 model year are on U.S. roads.

NHTSA investigations can lead to vehicle recalls.

A message seeking comment was left with General Motors.

The investigation is unrelated to GM's recent recall of 2.6 million older model Chevrolets and other cars for defective ignition switches.


Court rules against grandmother in custody case

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned a decision that favored a Florida woman as guardian for grandchildren in Michigan.

The court says Lori Scribner doesn't get an advantage under state law just because she's a relative. The court on Tuesday unanimously reversed an opinion from the appeals court and said a Muskegon County judge made the right call.

Scribner is a nurse who lives in St. Augustine, Fla. She's the paternal grandmother of three of four children who have been living with a foster family.

The children are age 12 and under and have been in foster care for five years. Foster parents want to adopt them.

The case is returning to the appeals court for work on other issues.


Backers, opponents of Michigan ban react to ruling

DETROIT (AP) - A woman who successfully sued the University of Michigan over racial preferences says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold a state ban on using race in university admissions is a "great victory" for voters and the state.

Jennifer Gratz says the ruling Tuesday is good news for university applicants who will know they're being accepted or rejected based on merit.

But a lawyer who challenged the voter-approved affirmative action ban says taking away the rights of minorities is a "shocking decision." George Washington says the Supreme Court is undoing rights gained by blacks and Latinos decades ago.

The justices ruled 6-2 that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions.


Schuette praises high court ruling on admissions

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the state's ban on using race in university admissions.

The justices ruled 6-2 Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change the state Constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking race into account in admissions decisions.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in October after Schuette appealed a federal court's decision to overturn the ban in 2012.

Schuette says the ruling is a "victory" for Michigan citizens who voted "to require equal treatment" in the admissions process.

The Republican attorney general says universities must "achieve a diverse student population but do it by constitutional means."


Historic Clare railroad depot moved 900 feet

CLARE, Mich. (AP) - A century-old mid-Michigan railroad depot is on the move.

Crews used heavy equipment to haul the Clare Railroad Depot about 900 feet on Tuesday.

The historic depot was used to transport lumber, goods and supplies to the city, which developed at a crossroads of two important railroads. It was the focal point for arrivals and departures until the advent of the automobile.

The Midland Daily News reports that since 2005, the Clare Railroad Depot committee has sought to move the building because of access, liability and safety issues associated with its current location on active tracks.

The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant says that the city of Clare bought the depot that year from the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Co., now the Great Lakes Central Railroad.


Marijuana plans submitted in Oak Park, Hazel Park

OAK PARK, Mich. (AP) - Supporters of marijuana decriminalization are submitting petitions to place the issue before voters in two northern Detroit suburbs. ( ) says the group Safer Michigan submitted petitions with 1,600 signatures to the Oak Park city clerk. The city says 1,100 valid signatures are needed to put the issue on the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

The proposal would let anyone 21 or older possess and transport up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher says the group submitted petitions for a marijuana proposal. He says the City Council will either pass it Tuesday night or place it on the August ballot.

Organizers have targeted 11 Michigan cities and Benzie County for decriminalization proposals this year.

Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing voters approved proposals last year.


UP city of Norway gets $5.6 million water, sewers

NORWAY, Mich. (AP) - The Upper Peninsula city of Norway is getting $5.6 million in federal grants and loans for an overhaul of its water and sewer systems.

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday that much of the money comes from the recently passed Farm Bill, which increased funding for rural water and sewer programs.

The Michigan Democrat says that Norway is getting a $1.15 million grant and a $1.65 million loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development program for wastewater improvements. Stabenow says the city also is getting a $2.81 million loan for improvements to its water system.

The city of 2,800 is in Dickinson County, about 7 miles east-southeast of Iron Mountain. The water systems serve the city and adjoining Norway Township.


Saginaw postpones anti-discrimination measure vote

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - City Council in Saginaw has indefinitely postponed consideration of a proposed ordinance to guarantee city residents and visitors equal treatment in employment and public accommodations, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Saginaw News reports ( ) the decision was made on a 7-2 vote during a meeting that began Monday night. Council chambers were filled to capacity for the meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Amos O'Neal says city leaders should first meet with landlords, business leaders and leaders of the faith-based community.

City Councilwoman Annie Boensch, who led the effort to bring the ordinance to the table, opposed the postponement.

The proposed ordinance sought to ban discrimination based on a person's "actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation or gender identity."

Some other Michigan communities have similar gay rights measures.


Detroit Metro Airport opens up pooch potty area

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - There's a new spot at Detroit Metropolitan Airport where dogs can do their business.

Delta Air Lines worked with the airport to create the new Service Animal Relief Area.

It's located near gate A-34 of the McNamara Terminal and has been dubbed "Central Bark" by some employees.

A "ribbon-biting" ceremony was held Tuesday at the airport in suburban Romulus.

Inside the relief area are two "porch potties," one with simulated grass and a second with real grass, and even a fake fire hydrant.

Airport Authority chief executive Thomas Naughton says that connecting passengers with service animals used to have to go outside to find a relief area on the international arrivals level.

Now, four-legged flyers have a place all their own to get some relief.


GM restructuring engineering in response to recall

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is adding 35 product safety investigators as part of a larger restructuring in response to a series of safety recalls.

GM says the new investigators will more than double the size of its current team, to 55.

The company is also dividing its global vehicle engineering organization into two sections. A product integrity section will oversee vehicle and engine engineering as well as safety, while a separate department will oversee parts engineering and advanced vehicle development.

GM's product development chief Mark Reuss says the changes were made to ensure that potential problems are spotted and handled more quickly.

The government is investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall small cars with a defective ignition switch.


Police investigate report of brawl involving 100

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - Police say they're investigating following a report of a weekend brawl in Muskegon that may have involved about 100 people.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports ( ) three people told authorities that they had a gun pointed at them during Sunday's fight in the western Michigan city. Police say they're still investigating on Tuesday and they're seeking tips from the public.

At the time of a call about the brawl, police were told about 100 people were involved. Police arrived to find about 20 people arguing and some ran away.


Democrats eye 15 cities for 2016 convention

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democratic National Committee has asked Chicago, New York and 13 others to make a pitch to host the presidential nominating convention in 2016.

The DNC on Tuesday said the party will accept proposals through June 6 and will pick a host city either late this year or early in 2015.

In addition to Chicago and New York, the cities under consideration include: Atlanta; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami; Nashville; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

Some cities seem more likely than others. For instance, President Barack Obama, who will be leaving the White House in 2017, calls Chicago home and his potential successor Hillary Rodham Clinton is from Illinois. Clinton also represented New York in the Senate.


Fermi 2 nuclear plant corrects security lapse

FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Federal inspectors say a now-corrected security lapse could have allowed unauthorized access to a protected area at DTE Energy's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in southeastern Michigan.

The Monroe News reported ( ) Monday the Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified plant officials of the unspecified concern during a Feb. 6 inspection. Plant spokesman Guy Cerullo says the problem was fixed before inspectors left, and the corrections were confirmed by federal documents.

The plant along Lake Erie in Monroe County's Frenchtown Township shut down last week to replace one of the two main transformers. The transformer wasn't working properly after the restart from a February refueling shutdown.

Spokesman Stephen Tait tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that the restarting process has begun but he can't say when plant will be fully online.

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