Board rules minimum wage drive short of signatures
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's elections board has voted not to certify a voter-initiated proposal to raise the state's minimum wage.
The Board of State Canvassers ruled 3-1 Thursday that advocates fell 3,900 valid signatures short of 258,000 needed to put the proposed law before lawmakers or a statewide vote. The board's staff initially determined there were enough signatures but reconsidered after a restaurant group opposing the proposal found duplicates.
To head off the ballot drive, lawmakers in May repealed the minimum wage law that would be amended by the proposal and passed a smaller wage hike. The hourly minimum will rise to $9.25 by 2018 with inflationary increases after.
The voter-initiated law would increase the minimum to $10.10 an hour over time with later inflationary increases. Raise Michigan is considering an appeal.
Michigan's unemployment rate shows seasonal rise
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan authorities say the state experienced a typical seasonal increase in unemployment in the latest month.
The state Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Thursday that the state's seasonally unadjusted joblessness rate reached 7.9 percent in June, up from 7.3 percent in May. It was 9.4 percent in June 2013.
The department says June's unemployment rates ranged from a low of 5.7 percent in the Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids regions to a high of 9.2 percent in populous metropolitan Detroit.
The Detroit-area rate is up from 8 percent in May but down from 10.1 percent in June 2013.
DETROIT WATER SHUTOFFS
Eau Canada: Caravan totes water to Detroit
DETROIT (AP) - A caravan of Canadians bringing jugs with 1,000 liters of water has arrived in Detroit in a symbolic protest against the bankrupt city shutting off water to residents who haven't paid their bills.
Eleven vehicles passed through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel under the Detroit River on Thursday afternoon. The Canadians rallied outside City Hall before heading for St. Peter's Episcopal Church to deliver the water.
The city has stepped up collection efforts for residential and business water service, and water shutoffs rose from 500 in March to 7,200 in June. On Monday, the city suspended shutoffs for 15 days.
Human rights groups have appealed the shutoffs to the United Nations, and the judge in Detroit's bankruptcy case said the shutoffs were hurting the city's image.
Officials require more supports beneath oil pipes
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Michigan officials are ordering Enbridge Energy Partners LP to install additional support structures beneath two oil pipelines at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan.
State Attorney Bill Schuette and Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant said Thursday the company acknowledges it's not meeting a requirement that the pipelines have support anchors at least every 75 feet.
They say Enbridge agrees to add more supports this year. They say it's a step toward protecting the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill.
Enbridge Energy Partners is part of Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
Enbridge spokeswoman Terri Larson says engineering studies show gaps up to 140 feet are safe. She says Enbridge is taking extra precautions and will begin adding steel supports in August.
GAS STATION DEATH
Man arraigned in stab slaying of gas station clerk
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - A man has been arraigned on first-degree murder charges in the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old Battle Creek gas station employee.
Police say they answered a call about a robbery and shooting about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the body of Nicole Gates of Battle Creek at a Citgo gas station.
They say the robber took money, beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets.
Police arrested 30-year-old Shawn Pike of Battle Creek. He was arraigned Thursday and ordered jailed without bond until a show-cause hearing Aug. 7.
Twenty-one-year-old Dustin Hartman of Battle Creek was arraigned Thursday on charges of being an accessory after the fact. He was in the Calhoun County jail on Thursday evening with a $20,000 bond.
It wasn't immediately known if the defendants have lawyers.
RADIO HOST CHARGED
Ex-radio host signs plea deal in child porn probe
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A former host at a popular Christian radio station in western Michigan plans to plead guilty in a child pornography investigation.
Prosecutors say John Balyo is due in Grand Rapids federal court Tuesday, just weeks after his arrest on state charges at a Christian music festival in Gaylord.
The 35-year-old Balyo is charged with sexual exploitation and possessing child pornography. His signed plea deal was filed in court Thursday.
Balyo faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison but his sentence could be longer. He was a host at Christian radio station WCSG in Grand Rapids before his arrest in June. He's being held in the Calhoun County jail on state charges of criminal sexual conduct.
Body of missing man, 61, found in Lake Fenton
FENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The body of a 61-year-old man has been found in Lake Fenton in southern Genesee County.
Family members tell WHMI-FM the body of James Lehmkuhle (LEM'-kuhl) was found about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. They say he was an angler and very familiar with the lake, which is in Fenton Township.
Lehmkuhle lived in Flushing, about 20 miles north of Lake Fenton.
He disappeared Tuesday. The cause of his death remains undetermined.
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