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News

House aims for $1.2 billion road-funding deal this week

Aug 18, 2015
Michigan Capitol Building
Phillip Hofmeister via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Michigan lawmakers are working on a $1.2 billion road-funding deal that could include a boost in fuel tax and vehicle along with shifting money from other spending priorities.
  Majority House Republicans are optimistic a plan can be approved by week's end. But cobbling enough votes for higher gasoline taxes will be difficult.
 
The goal is passing legislation the Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder can enact without changes. The House returns Tuesday after a monthlong break and is in session through Thursday.
 

Downtown Grand Rapids
Wikimedia.org

In the aftermath of the 2013 floods, Kent County communities along the Grand River are now in line to receive millions in federal funding for flood control and improving economic activity if the region wins a competition for those dollars.

“There’s a limit to what HUD or the federal government can provide and they just simply want to make sure that they’re spending their money as wisely as possible.”

Justice Kelly leaving Michigan Supreme Court

Aug 17, 2015
Kelly Mary Beth
courts.mi.gov

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly is leaving the bench for private practice with more than three years left in her term.
 
The court announced the 53-year-old Kelly's surprise departure Monday.
 
She says in a statement she is "grateful" to have served on Michigan's highest court and leaves knowing the judicial system is better equipped to help families and children. Her departure is effective Oct. 1.
 
Kelly won election in 2010 as a Republican nominee. GOP nominees have a 5-2 edge on the court.
 

Dreyer Jim
danirving.photoshelter.com / Dreyer Jim

Heavy currents in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac foiled a long-distance swimmer's test: Swimming to Mackinac Island towing a barge carrying a vehicle loaded with fudge.
 
Jim Dreyer said Monday he was a mile from shore Saturday when an east wind pushed him back to St. Ignace. He swam about 6.5 miles with the barge before unhooking and free-swimming to the island while the barge sailed independently.
 
Dreyer swam 14 hours total and 10 hours towing the barge weighing about 19 tons - more than originally thought.
 

Grand River north
www.distancebetweencities.net

In the aftermath of the 2013 floods Kent County communities along the Grand River are now in line to receive millions in federal funding for flood control and improving economic activity if the region wins a competition for those dollars.

“There’s a limit to what HUD or the federal government can provide and they just simply want to make sure that they’re spending their money as wisely as possible.”

Catholic collar
Pixabay | CC BY 3.0 / pixabay.com

The Vatican has permanently removed a retired Diocese of Grand Rapids priest from ministry after investigating a child sexual abuse case from the mid-1980s.

Today, Father Charles Antekeier is 79-years old. But when he was in his late 40s serving as Pastor of Grand Rapids’ Saint James Parish, the Vatican’s  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has determined sexual abuse of minor occurred. The Diocese of Grand Rapids was approached by the victim forwarding the case to Rome. In a statement, Bishop Walkowiak said. “While there are no words that can heal such wounds, I humbly ask for forgiveness for the pain and injury you and your families have suffered.”

Rosalynn Bliss
Hilary Farrell / WGVU

 With two-thirds of the popular vote, Grand Rapids Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss becomes the city’s first female mayor on January 1.

"I believe that there's still a lot of work that we need to do, and I want to be part of that. I want to be part of making that happen," Bliss says. "We have worked hard to get the city moving in the right direction, and I want to make sure that continues."  

Bliss says her top priority is strengthening neighborhoods.

glass bottles
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / Pixabay.com

 The American beer industry’s economic impact today is $253 billion.

That's roughly 1.5 percent in U.S. Gross Domestic Product, creating 1.75 million direct and indirect jobs.

That’s a far cry from nearly four decades ago.

“In 1976 there were 50 breweries left in the United States. Today there are somewhere north of 3,000 and growing.”

That's Jim McGreevy, President and CEO of The Beer Institute. The agency just released its 2014 Beer Serves America report, revealing Michigan’s beer production as a revenue generator. 

National Guard solar field
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia | Public Domain image / Wikimedia.org

 Michigan residents interested in solar power as an energy source can soon do so right on their utility bills.

That’s the goal of a Consumers Energy residential solar pilot program which begins marketing efforts in the fall.

Roger Morgenstern is a senior public information director at the company. He says the community solar program looks to leverage the desire for clean energy with the demands of an effective business model.

President Gerald R. Ford
whitehouse.gov

President Gerald R. Ford would have turned 102 on Tuesday.

The 38th President of the United States was honored in Grand Rapids with dignitaries, family and friends laying a wreath at his presidential museum tomb. 

Paying tribute was Paul O’Neill, the country’s 72nd Secretary of the Treasury and a man who served President Ford.

“It’s not that he was a saint," O'Neill says, "but by God he was pretty close.”

Paul O’Neill served as President Gerald R. Ford’s Deputy Director of the Office Management and Budget.

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