Dave Bing touts accomplishments as Detroit mayor
DETROIT (AP) - Dave Bing says Detroit is better off now than when he was elected mayor four years ago.
Bing addressed business and civic leaders Wednesday in his last formal speech as mayor. He says that during his first and only term in office "the foundation for the true transformation" of Detroit was laid.
He was elected in 2009 and didn't seek re-election this year. Mayor-elect Mike Duggan takes over in January.
Bing says his accomplishments include persuading General Motors to keep its headquarters in Detroit, saving millions of dollars by cutting the city's payroll and demolishing close to 10,000 vacant houses.
Bing's responsibilities were reduced when Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr as Detroit's emergency manager in March. Orr is shepherding Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Senators want check of oil pipeline beneath lakes
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Three U.S. senators have asked a federal agency to check on the safety of an oil pipeline that runs beneath Great Lakes waters.
Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan made the request Wednesday in a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
They say Enbridge Energy Partners recently began pumping an additional 1.2 million gallons of oil daily through the line, built in 1953 and passing beneath the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.
The Associated Press left phone messages Wednesday seeking comment from Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge.
An Enbridge pipeline rupture polluted the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The senators say a similar break in the Straits could be disastrous.
Senate votes to ensure jury trials in state suits
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted unanimously to ensure people who file certain types of lawsuits against the state have a right to a jury trial.
The bill approved Wednesday and headed to Gov. Rick Snyder amends a law passed last month that gave jurisdiction over state suits to different judges.
Majority Republicans took lawsuits against the state and state officials away from Ingham County judges in the Democratic-leaning Lansing area and moved them to four appeals court judges. The new Court of Claims also has jurisdiction over suits against the state that county judges oversaw.
One criticism of the law is it could deprive plaintiffs of the right to a jury in certain cases. Snyder is expected to sign the bill soon.
MENTAL HEALTH COURTS
Mental health court bills nearing Snyder's desk
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Legislation to create special courts under Michigan law that serve people with mental illnesses is nearing Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.
The Senate unanimously approved the bills Wednesday, and the House is expected to concur before adjourning for the year.
More than a dozen counties have mental health courts that let charges be dismissed or reduced so offenders get treatment instead of jail. The legislation would create the courts in statute and form a blueprint for how they should work, but not create more mental health courts.
The agency overseeing Michigan's court system has praised the performance of the special courts.
A study found a lower level of repeat offenders in them. Participants also had better opportunities for work, education and treatment.
The bills would bar violent offenders from participating.
GIRLFRIEND STRANGLED-GRAND RAPIDS
Man on trial in girlfriend's killing pleads guilty
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A man who authorities say strangled his girlfriend to keep the mother of five from implicating him in a stabbing has pleaded guilty in the middle of his murder trial.
Authorities say 26-year-old Jahleel Hoskins strangled 26-year-old Latrice Maze to prevent her from telling police about the non-fatal stabbing. Relatives reported Maze missing March 20, and her remains haven't been found.
Hoskins pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder and evidence tampering. He was on trial on an open murder charge, which could have led to a conviction for first-degree murder.
A sentencing date wasn't immediately scheduled.
In November, a judge sentenced Hoskins to 25 to 75 years in prison for assault with intent to do great bodily harm for attacking Kenneth Harris in a parking lot Feb. 19.
Police track break-in suspect 4 miles in snow
SPRINGPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police in southern Michigan say they followed footprints in the snow for about four miles before arresting a man they believe is responsible for several break-ins.
The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports the search began about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday at the scene of a break-in at a shed.
Troopers found footprints in the snow and sent out a K-9 team.
Michigan State Police Sgt. David Stamler says police found several other area buildings and vehicles had been broken into. Police followed the tracks to a home, where the 21-year-old man from Jackson County's Springport Township was taken into custody.
The man was jailed pending formal charges. Police are asking other potential victims in Springport Township to contact investigators.
Mich. court examines one of Granholm's last acts
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state attorney has urged the Michigan Supreme Court to let stand an unprecedented decision by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who made a prisoner eligible for possible release but then changed her mind in her final days in office.
A. Peter Govorchin asked justices to follow lower courts, which found that a governor's commutation decisions can't be challenged.
Granholm commuted Matthew Makowski's no-parole sentence in 2010. But she changed her position when the victim's family complained.
Justice Mary Beth Kelly signaled disagreement with Granholm's reversal because she already had signed a document. Justice David Viviano questioned why the secretary of state's office agreed to return the document.
Makowski was convicted of murder for arranging the robbery of a co-worker in Dearborn in 1988. Makowski didn't know the robbers would be armed.
Obama's education, labor chiefs to visit Michigan
WARREN, Mich. (AP) - Two top aides to President Barack Obama are visiting Michigan on Thursday to promote a community college-based job training program and an effort to find work for unemployed Detroit residents to.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be at Macomb Community College in Warren.
The college is lead recipient of a $25 million grant for eight Michigan community colleges.
The grant is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program, which promotes partnerships between community colleges and businesses to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.
The 10 a.m. event is at the college's Michigan Technical Education Center.
At 1 p.m., the officials and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing visit Detroit's Northwest Activities Center to launch a program to encourage businesses to hire unemployed residents.
Annual Detroit winter festival gets new name
DETROIT (AP) - An annual Detroit winter festival is getting a new name.
Organized announced Wednesday that Meridian Health Plan has signed on as title sponsor for Detroit's Winter Blast for the next three years. The Feb. 7-9 festival in downtown's Campus Martius will be known as the Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans.
A massive snow slide also will make its return at the event, with the attraction sponsored by Buick. It will be 30 feet high and offer a 200-foot ride.
The Downtown Detroit Development Authority, Flagstar Bank and the Michigan Lottery also are returning to Winter Blast as major sponsors.
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