Local News Archives

MSU Campaign Raises More Than $1.8 Billion

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University says its more than seven-year fundraising campaign brought in about $1.83 billion.
The Lansing State Journal reports more than 250,000 donors contributed to the Empower Extraordinary campaign, which in 2017 had already reached its $1.5 billion goal. The fundraising campaign started quietly in 2011 and was publicly launched in 2014 to help support building projects, scholarships and new endowed faculty positions. It wrapped up in December. The East Lansing school says money raised
for scholarships will assist an additional 3,500 undergraduates annually.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Oldest Juvenile Lifer, 74, To Be Released

From the Associated Press — A judge has cleared the way for the release of a 74-year-old man who is the oldest Michigan prisoner serving a life sentence for murder as a teen. Sheldry Topp has been in prison since 1962. But he was resentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 years. Attorney Deborah LaBelle says the new sentence means Topp should immediately be eligible for freedom. Michigan and other states were forced to change the way they sentence teens after the U.S. Supreme Court said minors can’t automatically be given life prison terms. No-parole sentences still are possible. That’s what prosecutor Jessica Cooper wanted for Topp. But Oakland County Judge James Alexander says Topp has been rehabilitated. Topp was convicted of fatally stabbing a man during a robbery. He was 17 at the time of the death.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases PFAS Test Results

From the Associated Press — Officials say samples taken at 64 water systems around Michigan last year had measurable levels of a class of long-lasting toxic chemicals. The Department of Environmental Quality released findings Monday from a 2018 initiative to test Michigan’s public water sources for the substances known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, or PFAS. The compounds are used in a wide variety of consumer products including non-stick cookware and water-resistant fabrics. The DEQ sampled 1,114 municipal water systems, along with hundreds of schools, child-care facilities and tribal systems. Michigan requires cleanups if PFAS levels exceed 70 parts per trillion. The only systems that did so were the city of Parchment and Robinson Elementary School near Grand Haven. An additional 62 systems had levels of 10 to 70 parts per trillion.. ...Read Full Story

Bills To Exempt Feminine Hygiene Products From Taxes Introduced In MI Senate

State Senator Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids has reintroduced a bill that would eliminate the so-called “tampon tax” in Michigan and make feminine hygiene products exempt from sales and use taxes. She has tried and failed before to get the bill passed in the state House and this is her first attempt in the Senate. She says it’s an unfair tax on women just for being women.. ...Read Full Story

MSP Expanding Drugged Driving Tests Statewide

A program that had some police officers in Berrien County and four others in Michigan asking drivers to allow a swab of their mouth to determine if they’ve been using drugs is being expanded statewide. Michigan State Police say it’s part of an effort to cut down on so-called drugged driving. The initial one-year pilot program started in late 2017 in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. Police officers who are trained as drug recognition experts collected oral fluid if they suspected a driver is impaired by drugs. During the initial pilot program, it was used on 92 drivers. State police say the roadside test correlated well with lab test and blood test results. Officials say it will take a few months before it’s launched statewide.. ...Read Full Story