Month: December 2013

Walker Announces $4.6 Million in Road Repair Projects

LANSING—State Sen. Howard Walker announced Thursday that $4.6 million in grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will fund road repair projects in several counties in the 37th Senate District. The grants will be awarded to projects in Antrim, Emmet, Grand Traverse and Presque Isle counties. “This is great news for the residents and businesses of northwest lower Michigan,” said Walker, R-Traverse City. “Good roads are critical for a good economy, and I am delighted to see these projects get underway.” The grants in the 37th Senate District include the following: · $1 million to repair the West Front Street Bridge in Traverse City; · $900,000 to repair Old State Road from Central Lake Village to Derenzy Road; · $750,000 to repair U.S.-23 BR in Rogers City; · $500,000 to repair U.S. 31/M-37 from Division Street at 14th Street to Grand View Parkway in Traverse City; · $445,000 to repair U.S. 31 in the Bay View area in Petoskey; · $400,000 to repair U.S. 31 at the Mitchell Street Bridge; · $301,200 to repair Pierce Street, Front Street, Janet Street and Main Street in the village of Fife Lake; · $300,000 to repair Fenton Street in the village of Kingsley; and · $49,000 to repair Cottage Street in the village of Kingsley. MDOT officials and legislators from across Michigan announced a series of road repair projects at locations...

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New Laws Will Protect Consumers Against ‘Skimmers’ That Steal Personal Information

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Snyder has signed a package of bills intended to safeguard Michiganders from devices used to steal their personal information and use it to commit fraud. The bills are included among 14 other pieces of legislation intended to help protect Michiganders and their property in a variety of ways. The five-bill package creates criminal penalties relating to the use of a “skimmer” device used to access a person’s financial information. The devices are illegally attached to automatic teller machines and record a person entering a PIN and read the information on the ATM or the debit or credit card’s magnetic strip. “These devices are used to steal from others, and we need to crack down on this problem to help protect Michiganders,” Snyder said. “This is a bipartisan package of bills approved unanimously, showing the united commitment to fighting this growing issue.” HB 5050, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, makes it a crime to use the devices. A person convicted of the crime could face five years in prison for a first offense, increasing to 15 years for a third and subsequent offense. Other items in the package include: · HB 5051, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, increases the penalty for illegally using personal identifying information from a transaction without consent. · HB 5052, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville,...

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America’s Voice and United Farm Workers Send Special Holiday Card to Rep. Dan Benishek

America’s Voice and United Farm Workers Send Special Holiday Card to Rep. Dan Benishek Immigrants are Working Hard to Make this Holiday Season Special for America, When Will Rep. Benishek Start Doing His Job Too?   Washington, DC – While Members of Congress are on holiday recess, immigrants are working hard—as they do every day of the year – in some of our country’s toughest jobs.  We’ve been profiling workers and employers over the last few weeks as part of our “Do Your Jobs” campaign, illustrating the sharp contrast between these hard-working Americans and some of our “leaders” in Congress. Now, we have a special holiday card and a Christmas/Holiday fact sheet for Republican House Members responsible for holding up action on immigration reform in 2013.  We have a simple ask to Congressman Benishek: immigrants and their employers are working hard every day to make this holiday special for Americans.  When will you start to do your job too? The holiday card and fact sheet follows: Dear Rep. Dan Benishek, Happy Holidays!  My you’ve certainly had a busy year.  Between voting to repeal Obamacare forty-seven times to taking 209 paid days off to shutting down the government, you must be exhausted.  Well, immigrants and their allies have had a busy year as well.  While you were busy…um, well, not doing much of anything, they’ve been working hard to make...

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Grand Rapids Man Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison And Forfeits House For Child Pornography Conviction

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Gary William Hampton, 63, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison for producing and possessing child pornography. Hampton’s house, where the abuse occurred, was forfeited as a result of the conviction. U.S. Chief District Judge Paul L. Maloney explained, “The offense conduct in this case is horrendous. Aggravating factors include extortion of the young person and supplying him with controlled substances. I am also very concerned with the defendant’s statements to his friend that there was no victim here.” The prison term will be followed by 10 years of supervised release. U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. commended the lengthy sentence stating, “Protecting children from sexual exploitation is a high priority for this U.S. Attorney’s office. The sentence and the forfeiture of the defendant’s house should send a deterrence message to others who might consider creating the supply and the demand for child pornography offenses. If you commit a child pornography offense inside your home, you risk losing your home as part of the sentence.” The case came to the attention of law enforcement when the victim reported that he was sexually abused by Hampton from 2003 to 2007, when the victim was 13 to 17 years old. Hampton gave money and illegal drugs to the boy in exchange for sex, and Hampton threatened the victim to keep it a secret....

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Federal Government Awards Michigan $51.7 Million for Preschool Programs

LANSING, Mich. – Expanded early learning opportunities for low-income children in Michigan will give them a greater chance for success in school and life, an effort boosted today by a $51.7 million federal grant. Michigan earned the grant through the Race to the Top Early Childhood Learning Challenge, a competition focused on improving early learning and development programs and closing the school readiness gap. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the selection today with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The grant competition recognizes states with programs focused on increasing the number of low-income and disadvantaged children enrolled in high-quality, early learning programs. “We know that children will be much more successful in school if they have a solid foundation for learning,” Snyder said. “My administration has made early childhood education a priority, investing an additional $65 million this year and proposing $65 million more next year to touch families who will most benefit from these programs. The federal grants will allow us to reach even more families and help children. Michigan’s Race to the Top Award – the first ever for our state – aligns perfectly with our ambitious early childhood investments. This is not a replacement for our current and future investments, but rather a very significant addition to our efforts to give children in Michigan a great start.” Michigan...

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