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Park upgrades to give better view of downtown Grand Rapids

Three parks in downtown Grand Rapids are set to undergo a number of major upgrades that city officials say will dramatically change scenic views of the downtown skyline, while creating more walking and recreational options for park visitors. Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, along with parks and recreation director David Marquardt, were joined by a number of stakeholders Wednesday to break ground on the three greenspaces, which include Look, Reservior and Belknap parks. “Working with Belknap...

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Weather experts are predicting a major heat wave for much of Michigan… a heat warning is now in effect until Saturday.  With the hot weather, AAA is offering some safety tips to help keep children safe.

“Even on pleasant days, the temperature inside a car can soar to well over a hundred degrees in less than ten minutes and that can put your children and pets at risk of heat stroke, and possibly death.”

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  Michigan Republicans' maneuver to weaken voter-proposed laws to raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave was "outright unconstitutional," a top appellate lawyer said Wednesday while urging the state Supreme Court to stand as a "last line of defense" against the unprecedented tactic.

An attorney for the GOP-led House and Senate countered that nothing in the state constitution prevents the Legislature from amending a citizen-initiated law at any time, including during the same legislative session.

 

Three parks in downtown Grand Rapids are set to undergo a number of major upgrades that city officials say will dramatically change scenic views of the downtown skyline, while creating more walking and recreational options for park visitors.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, along with parks and recreation director David Marquardt, were joined by a number of stakeholders Wednesday to break ground on the three greenspaces, which include Look, Reservior and Belknap parks.

Murder conviction overturned; judge was too aggressive

18 hours ago

  The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned a murder conviction in Saginaw County, saying a judge questioned a witness like a prosecutor.

The court says a judge can ask questions during a trial. But the justices say Judge Fred Borchard went beyond an attempt to clarify testimony in the case against Kareem Swilley Jr.

The court said Borchard at one point asked a witness to provide a bank statement and requested a water bill receipt. Justice Richard Bernstein says it wasn't Borchard's job to "drill" into a defendant's alibi defense.

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  The heat wave that has been roasting much of the U.S. in recent days is just getting warmed up, with temperatures expected to soar to dangerous levels through the weekend.

Communities are preparing by offering buildings as cooling centers and asking residents to check in on relatives and neighbors. Officials also are concerned about smog, which is exacerbated by the heat and makes it more difficult for certain people to breathe, including the very young, the elderly and people with asthma or lung diseases.

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Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

President Trump will nominate Eugene Scalia, son of late Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the next labor secretary, the president announced via Twitter Thursday evening.

A source close to Scalia earlier Thursday confirmed to NPR that the president had offered Scalia the job and that he accepted.

Scalia, 55, is a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., where he handles cases related to labor and employment.

Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said Thursday that the Trump administration's new asylum rule, unveiled earlier this week, is being rolled out as a small "pilot" and that officials expect it to be blocked in court.

The rule is a major change in U.S. asylum law. It denies asylum protection to most migrants arriving at the Southern border unless they first apply in a country they passed through on the way.

Most days, 25-year-old Chavonne can push her student loan debt to the back of her mind.

Between short-term office jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, she drives for Uber. But once in awhile, a debt collector will get hold of her cellphone number — the one she keeps changing to avoid them — and it all comes back fresh. "I'll be like, 'Oh no!' " she says. "It's a sad reminder that I owe somebody money!"

In April, she got another reminder when the government seized her tax return.

All this for a degree she never finished.

Researchers are prescribing exercise as if it were a drug in a study that aims to see if it can prevent Alzheimer's disease.

"We are testing if exercise is medicine for people with a mild memory problem," says Laura Baker, principal investigator of the nationwide EXERT study and associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET on Friday

A U.S. Navy warship called the USS Boxer took down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said, adding, "The drone was immediately destroyed." A senior Iranian official has denied that the country lost a drone.

"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone," Trump said, giving details about the encounter at the start of a flag presentation ceremony at the White House. He said the drone had closed to about 1,000 yards from the U.S. ship, "ignoring multiple calls to stand down."

One of the rarest birds in New Zealand is having its best breeding season in decades, potentially doubling the population.

The orange-fronted parakeet, known locally as the kākāriki karaka, is in the midst of a prolonged mating season due to a beech seed bonanza, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said in a statement on Wednesday.

Martin Shkreli — the former pharmaceutical CEO widely known as "Pharma Bro" — lost his bid to overturn a seven-year prison sentence for fraud Thursday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed Shkreli's 2017 conviction.

The appeals court judges ruled against Shkreli by a 3-0 vote. In addition to ordering him to stay in prison, the judges affirmed that he must forfeit more than $7.3 million, pay restitution of $388,336 and pay a $75,000 fine.

Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET

Donald Trump took part in phone calls with his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen as the attorney and other aides scrambled to arrange hush payments to a woman in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.

Those details come from hundreds of pages of court papers — warrant applications, affidavits and other related materials — made public on Thursday.

The best scene in Disney's incredibly photo-realistic remake of The Lion King features a computer-generated beetle rolling a ball of computer-generated dung across a computer-generated African landscape. It might sound mundane, but this particular ball of dung is carrying a tuft of fur from the runaway lion Simba, and its eventual discovery will renew hope that the rightful king of the savanna is alive and well. It's a funny, touching reminder that in the circle of life, every little creature and every lump of waste has an important role to play.

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