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Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST

THREE DEAD-CAR

Woman identifies 3 who died in car; no details a week later

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A week later, a woman in Grand Rapids has publicly identified three people who were found dead in a car. Police still aren't saying much about what happened to the three, which is adding to the mystery. They were 78-year-old Ruby Roberts, 60-year-old Ellay Mae Brown and 4-month-old Zaida Ashford. They were related. Nicole Dantzler tells MLive.com that the family remains “shocked” days later. Dantzler says it feels “like a movie.” The bodies were discovered in a car outside Roberts’ home. Dantzler says police told the family that they’re still investigating.

MAN KILLED-TRACTOR

Man dies after being pinned beneath tractor he was driving

CRYSTAL, Mich. (AP) — A 50-year-old man has died after he was pinned beneath the tractor he was driving in central Michigan. The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant reported late Wednesday that sheriff’s deputies and paramedics were called to the incident Tuesday evening near Crystal. Montcalm County Sheriff Michael Williams said in a release that the man was driving along a roadway when the tractor got too close to the road edge causing it to slide down an embankment. The tractor rolled over the man who was pronounced dead at the scene. Crystal is about 144 miles northwest of Detroit.

TWO-YEAR VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS

Michigan to offer 2-year license plate tabs in October 2022

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan drivers will have the option to renew their vehicle registration every two years instead one under a new law that will take effect in October 2022. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill Wednesday. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says two-year license plate tabs “will add yet another convenient service to our catalog.” Michigan once implemented two-year registrations in the early 1980s, but the Department of State reported they were not popular with motorists, according to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency. Tabs expire on the owner’s birthday. Drivers will still be able to renew annually.

LAKE MICHIGAN-BEACH RIGHTS

Federal court considering dispute over Lake Michigan access

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal appeals court appears unlikely to disturb a 2018 Indiana Supreme Court ruling that held the shoreline of Lake Michigan is, and always has been, owned by the state for the public's use. Judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals seemed unpersuaded during oral arguments Wednesday on behalf of three lakefront property owners in the town of Porter who are looking to limit public access to beaches. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports their attorney argued that land deeds and tax records show his clients own the beach in front of their homes to the water’s edge. But an appeals court questioned whether the federal courts should intervene.

CONGRESS-INFRASTRUCTURE-REPUBLICANS

Death threats, tweets jolt GOP infrastructure supporters

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was 2015 when Congress last approved a major renewal of federal highway and other transportation programs. Back then, the measure passed with decisive majorities of both parties. This year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill easily cleared the Senate by a 69-13 vote with some GOP support. But the bill crawled through the House last week by a 228-206 margin with just 13 Republican votes. Those 13 GOP members have come under harsh criticism from former President Donald Trump and others. That blowback and the diminished Republican support for the bill illustrate how conservative voices in the GOP have grown louder and have pushed the party rightward, even prompting partisan combat over popular public works projects.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOL FUNDING-MENTAL HEALTH

With US aid money, schools put bigger focus on mental health

CHICAGO (AP) — Schools across the U.S. are using portions of the windfall of federal coronavirus relief money to quickly expand their capacity to address students’ struggles with mental health. While school districts have broad latitude on how to spend the aid money, the urgency of the problem has been driven home by absenteeism, behavioral issues, and quieter signs of distress as many students have returned to full school buildings this fall for the first time since the pandemic hit. All told, the investments put public schools more than ever at the center of efforts to attend to students’ overall well being.

BENTON-HARBOR-WATER

Program to help Benton Harbor residents with water bills

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Officials have announced a pilot program that will help eligible residents of a Michigan city where there's been a lead crisis pay water and wastewater bills. The Michigan Department of Human Services and the city of Benton Harbor announced details Wednesday. The federally-funded program is designed to help households who have had water disconnected or are facing disconnection with money to have it restored. That includes other potential costs including trash, cable and internet. State officials say access to safe drinking water is “fundamental to the health and well-being of all people.” The move comes after federal officials ordered Benton Harbor to fix problems at the water plant.

FLINT WATER

Judge OKs $626 million settlement in Flint water litigation

DETROIT (AP) — A judge in Michigan has approved a $626 million settlement for Flint residents and others who were exposed to lead-contaminated water. The state is providing $600 million of the settlement. The state was accused of repeatedly overlooking the devastating risks of switching Flint’s water source in 2014 without treating the water to prevent contamination. Flint managers appointed by then-Gov. Rick Snyder allowed the city to use the Flint River without treating the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead in old pipes broke off and flowed through taps. Flint switched back to a Detroit regional water agency in fall 2015.

AP-US-CONGRESS-BUDGET-ELECTRIC-VEHICLES

Biden bill includes boost for union-made electric vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are looking to give U.S. automakers with union employees the inside track when it comes to winning the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The $1.85 trillion spending package that Democrats are trying to pass features programs designed to curb global warming, including incentives to hasten the transition to electric vehicles. They now account for about 2% of new car sales in the U.S. A provision would give buyers of vehicles made at unionized manufacturing plants in the U.S. a more generous tax credit. That plan is drawing vocal opposition from foreign trade partners and from Republicans who worry that manufacturers in their home states will be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS-SELLING INFRASTRUCTURE

Democrats sell infrastructure bill, push for Biden backup

STILWELL, Kan. (AP) — Congressional Democrats who are facing potentially tough reelection fights next year are crowing about long-neglected public works projects set to spring to life thanks to the new infrastructure package. It’s part of an attempt by President Joe Biden’s party to leave behind months of infighting between more progressive lawmakers and moderates from swing districts. The party also wants to see lawmakers unite around a shovel-ready approach to kicking the post-coronavirus pandemic economy into high gear. And some want to see Biden do more to sell Americans on the legislative achievement. Biden traveled to the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday to tout the more than $1 trillion plan.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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