Michigan

Rendering of the affordable housing in Belknap Lookout neighborhood.
GVSU University Communications

More affordable housing is coming to Grand Rapids and the Belknap Lookout neighborhood. Grand Valley State University and the City of Grand Rapids are working on a Memorandum of Understanding with neighborhood representatives.

Grand Valley State University will lease .85 acres of its Grand Rapids health campus to Three CPK, a joint venture of Third Coast Development and PK Housing.

Michigan’s Libertarian gubernatorial candidates squared off last night during a debate held at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business in downtown Grand Rapids. WGVU spoke with the candidates.

John Tatar has been an active member of the Libertarian Party for nearly four decades. The 69-year old is a small business owner and served in the U.S. army. Tatar has also run for State Representative and U.S. Congress. Now, he’s running for governor. His message to Michigan voters?

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

Health officials are advising families in a southwestern Michigan not to allow infants to drink from a city's water system after finding elevated levels of manganese.

The city of Battle Creek began distributing bottled water Thursday following an announcement that manganese was identified exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's health advisory level.

Battle Creek officials say adults and children older than 12 months can drink tap water.

The city also advises against boiling water, which may increase manganese levels.

Tech Defenders logo
Tech Defenders

A Grand Rapids-based information technology firm is investing millions and creating more than 100 jobs.

Tech Defenders primary business is repairing and extending the life span of classroom mobile devices provided to students by school districts. In a news release its more clearly defines the larger operation as “providing lifecycle solutions for large scale technology deployments.”

Hands exchanging money
flickr.com

Campaign committees set up by Michigan judicial candidates might be able to ask for more than $100 from lawyers.

The Michigan Supreme Court says it's considering whether to lift the $100 restriction.

The court is accepting public comment on the proposal until Oct. 1.

Lawyers now can contribute more than $100 per judicial candidate, but they can't be solicited for more than $100.

The change would bring Michigan's Code of Judicial Conduct in line with policies in other states.

Kwame Kilpatrick mugshot
Wikimedia Commons

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is ready to leave federal prison and is seeking a little help from President Donald Trump.

The request is part of a Facebook blog called "The Freedom and Justice Trust." The writer identified himself in the post as Kwame M. Kilpatrick. He writes that he's received a pardon from God and prays to receive "the opportunity for Pardon/Clemency from the President of the United States as well."

Poker casino game
Ab5602 via Wikimedia | Public Domain / Wikimedia.org

Bills that have cleared an initial legislative hurdle would legalize online gambling in Michigan and start the process toward possibly also allowing internet sports betting in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The state House late Tuesday voted 68-40 in favor of the legislation, which is not expected to be considered by the Senate until September at the earliest after lawmakers adjourned for a summer break.

An 8 percent tax would be collected from wagers, minus winnings paid out - which would be less than a 19 percent tax now paid by Detroit's three casinos.

Michigan would close a prison to save $19 million in the next fiscal year under a budget agreement struck by lawmakers. The closure is included in a bill approved unanimously Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee.

Michigan has 30 prisons, but the number of inmates has been declining. A Department of Corrections spokesman says agency leaders do not yet know which facility will be closed during the fiscal year starting in October.

A Muskegon-area prison closed earlier this year.

Hiking
Pexels | CC BY 2.0 / Pexels.com

Gov. Rick Snyder has approved nearly $50 million in spending to boost public recreation statewide. The $49.9 million for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund enacted Monday will go to 34 land acquisition projects and 97 development projects. It includes $12.5 million to buy up to 372 acres surrounded by Ludington State Park.

Among the state or local development projects are trails, parks, canoe and kayak launches, playgrounds and splash pads across Michigan. About $45 million in matching funds will be provided locally.

Prevailing wage
flickr.com

A 53-year-old Michigan law that guarantees higher "prevailing" wages for construction workers on state-financed projects could soon be nullified.

The Republican-controlled Legislature this week is poised to repeal the statute, which would make Michigan the fifth state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. Though GOP Gov. Rick Snyder opposes the bill, it is veto-proof because it was initiated through a ballot drive by nonunion contractors.

Conservatives say repealing the law would save taxpayers money.

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