Michigan

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

Two West Michigan State Representatives are asking residents impacted by water contamination in Northern Kent County to access new websites providing updated information.

State Representatives Chris Afendoulis whose district includes Plainfield Township and Rob VerHeulen, whose district includes Rockford, are following developments on Wolverine World Wide’s House Street Disposal site and ground water contamination discovered there. The representatives have issued a joint statement assuring their top priority is the health and safety of affected residents. 

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Michigan municipalities would be prohibited from levying local taxes on food and beverages under a bill advancing to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk for his expected signature.

No local government in Michigan is now considering such a tax. But lawmakers say it is possible, pointing to Philadelphia and Chicago as places with soda taxes. Similar taxes have been approved in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

The Republican-led Michigan Senate voted 30-5 Thursday to send the fast-tracked legislation to the governor.

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Michigan would authorize and license midlevel "dental therapists" to do work now performed by dentists under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The legislation won Senate approval 21-15 Wednesday. The House will consider it next.

Under the bill, dental therapists could practice if they reach an agreement with a supervising dentist. They could perform more common procedures than dental hygienists, such as filling cavities.

Supporters say the legislation would help ensure treatment for more patients in underserved populations, including in rural areas.

Governor Rick Snyder
Office of Gov. Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is sticking by his congressional testimony about when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis, despite a senior aide's new disclosure that he informed the governor weeks earlier.

Spokesman Ari Adler says Snyder was "under oath" and "stands by his testimony."

Nearly 100 Legionnaires' cases, including 12 deaths, were reported in the Flint area when the city was using the Flint River for water in 2014-15.

Detroit
Andrea_44 via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

Detroit plans to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day starting next year instead of Columbus Day.

The Detroit News reports City Council approved a proposal Tuesday on the issue about how to mark the second Monday of October.

Some other U.S. cities have made changes. Columbus Day, the federal holiday commemorating the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus, has been protested by those who argue his arrival to the Americas ushered in centuries of mistreatment of Native Americans.

Split Michigan Legislature approves leaky fuel tank bill

Oct 11, 2017

Michigan would spend more money reimbursing gas station owners to clean up leaky, environmentally risky fuel tanks under legislation sent to Gov. Rick Snyder. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill 26-10 Tuesday months after House approval. Democrats were opposed. 

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

Testing has found unsafe levels of hazardous chemicals from a decades-old tannery waste dump site in western Michigan in private residential drinking water wells in an expanded area. T

he Grand Rapids Press reports that multiple properties near Belmont have tested positive for high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

State toxicologists say exposure to PFAS have been linked through human studies to cancer as well as other health issues.

A November hearing is planned on an appeal related to a bottled-water company's plans to pump more groundwater in western Michigan.

The Osceola Township Planning Commission in April rejected a request from Nestle Waters North America for a permit to build a new pumping station.

A zoning appeals board later let that denial stand. Nestle says the decision was reached in error.

The Ludington Daily News reports 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski was appointed to hear the case and a hearing is set for Nov. 15.

Another Michigan Health official charged with manslaughter

Oct 9, 2017

A special prosecutor says he'll add a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Michigan's chief medical executive in a criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Eden Wells was in court Monday for a key hearing on other charges. But the hearing was postponed after the announcement by Todd Flood.

Wells' lawyer couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Five other people have been charged with involuntary manslaughter tied to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area in 2014-15.

ArtPrize / artprize.org

The winners of this year's international ArtPrize competition are being announced during an event in western Michigan.

In all, $500,000 in cash prizes will be awarded as part of ArtPrize Nine - including $200,000 for the public favorite and $200,000 for a winner picked by an expert jury.

An awards event takes place Friday night in Grand Rapids before ArtPrize wraps up on Sunday.

The first round of voting narrowed entries down to 20 chosen by the public and 20 by the jury. The second round of voting ran through this week.

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