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The state Senate Republican leader has put the sales tax on the table as a possible way to fund road repairs.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders have re-started talks on how to pay for roads.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he wants Michigan’s sales tax to be part of the discussions. Shirkey says that could be either expanding the list of what can be taxed. Or increasing the sales tax rate, which is currently six cents on the dollar.

Shirkey says the sales tax would be a steady source of revenue.
 

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Michigan is poised to create a permanent statewide mental health hotline under legislation that going to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The House passed the bill 101-7 Tuesday.

The telephone referral system would be available 24 hours a day, seven days of week and would refer people experiencing a mental health crisis to service providers. A spending law approved in 2018 included $3 million to develop, operate and maintain a hotline pilot program.

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Michigan on Tuesday sued 3M, DuPont and other companies for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful “forever” chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across the industrial state. The lawsuitfiled in state court alleges that 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of a class of substances known collectively as PFAS. The filing, announced by state Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Grethen Whitmer, came a year-and-a-half after former Gov. Rick Snyder first stated Michigan’s intent to sue Minnesota-based 3M and other unnamed parties.

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A Lake Michigan community has voted to spend $20,000 to kill as many as 30 deer at two parks in western Michigan. The unanimous vote by the Muskegon City Commission is an effort to control growing herds, although there are different opinions among residents.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the cull by sharpshooters must be completed by March 31. “It’s an action, not an ultimate answer. We know that,” Mayor Stephen Gawron said Tuesday.

Deer cull approved for two Muskegon neighborhoods

Jan 15, 2020
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With a rising deer population in two Muskegon neighborhoods, the city Tuesday will be bringing in sharp shooters for a deer cull. The move comes after residents in the city of Muskegon’s Beachwood and Bluffton neighborhoods complained about the growing number of deer damaging the landscaping around their homes. The city’s Department of Public Works responded by conducting a 2019 study to look into the issue, finding that as many as 100 deer are roaming through the area.

GR Pride Center releases a guide on using dating apps safely

Jan 15, 2020
A photo of a person holding phone showing a dating app match
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This past December, 25 year old Kevin Bacon met up with Mark Latunski after connecting with him on online dating app. The encounter between the two resulted in Bacon’s death after Latunski stabbed and slit his throat. In response to his death, Thomas Pierce from the Grand Rapids Pride Center says the organization is releasing a poster of tips to help LGBTQ people identify whether the person they are connecting with online is safe or not.  

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. portrait
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The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan celebrating its 70th Anniversary honoring regional and national influential figures with inaugural prizes. WGVU’s was at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids for the ceremonies.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and China, Jon Huntsman Jr. received the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan’s first annual Vandenberg Prize named in honor of Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg who was a proponent of forming NATO and endorsing the creation of the United Nations.

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The attorneys general of 15 states are opposing a Trump administration proposal to allow rail shipments of liquefied natural gas. They argue the trains will share tracks with passenger trains and travel through heavily congested areas. The protesting states submitted comments on the proposal Monday. They include Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the Trump administration issued a special permit in December to ship LNG by rail. The states say the rule would put residents, first responders and the environment at greater risk of catastrophic accidents.

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Michigan Has the 4th Highest drop in College enrollment in the nation. That’s according to a recent report from the National Student Clearing Research Center.  The study found that in 2019, Michigan saw a decrease of roughly 17,000 student enrolling in higher education, while the Nationwide enrollment declined by 1.7%---translating to around 300,000 students.

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More places to fly out of G.R. today, as Allegiant Airlines adds three new non-stop routes of service.

Earlier today Allegiant Airlines announced its adding service from Grand Rapids to Los
Angeles, Boston and Austin, Texas.  The new seasonal flights will run twice a week out of Gerald R. Ford International airport.  Tara Hernandez is the Communications Director at the airport. She says this a win-win for the airport and the airline.

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