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State Briefs

Associated Press • Apr 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Michigan jobless rate falls to 5.1 percent last month

LANSING (AP) — The state says Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in March while the number of people entering the workforce continued to grow.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the rate fell from 5.3 percent in February and compared with a national March rate of 4.5 percent. Last month's jobless rate in Michigan was two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the state's year-ago rate of 4.9 percent.

The agency said the state's workforce rose by 6,000 with an increase in total employment by 17,000 jobs. The number of unemployed workers fell by 11,000.

Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer said that while Michigan's unemployment rate has hovered around 5 percent since mid-2015, the number of employed Michiganders continues to grow.

West Michigan township’s planners reject Nestle permit for pump station

OSCEOLA TWP. (AP) — A small community has denied a request for a permit to build a new pumping station by a bottled-water company that wants to pump more groundwater in West Michigan.

The Osceola Township Planning Commission on Tuesday night denied granting Nestle Waters North America the permit for the pipeline booster station at Spring Hill Camp. It's part of the company's proposal to withdraw up to 400 gallons per minute from a well in Osceola County.

The commission said it felt Nestle didn't demonstrate that the proposal had the required public necessity and public convenience for the local permit.

Nestle says it's disappointed and believes the plan satisfies zoning standards. The decision could be appealed or the request updated.

Nestle's state permit request on its pumping plans is pending.

Michigan State Police celebrates centennial at Capitol

LANSING (AP) — In 100 years, the Michigan State Police has gone from being a temporary wartime emergency force of 300 men to a full-service law enforcement agency with nearly 10 times more employees.

The agency marked its centennial Wednesday at the Capitol building in Lansing.

Visitors saw displays about the state police's history. Gov. Rick Snyder and other top officials thanked troopers at a reception.

The agency's roots originated in World War I, when then-Gov. Albert Sleeper created the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force for domestic security.

Snyder said the mission remains the same despite technological advances, increased diversity and other changes within the state police.

The agency last year rendered aid in about 43,000 traffic crashes and made nearly 73,000 arrests.

Ex-EMT accused of not responding to emergency call

DETROIT (AP) — A former emergency medical technician has been charged after medical response was delayed to a Detroit home where an 8-month-old girl was having trouble breathing and later died.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Ann Marie Thomas, 45, was arraigned Wednesday on a willful neglect of duty charge.

Prosecutors say Thomas was parked less than a mile from the home, but intentionally delayed her response when dispatch put out a call for help on May 30, 2015. Another emergency worker was later sent. However, the girl later died.

The girl's family filed a lawsuit alleging Thomas told dispatch she didn't want to be on the scene for "10 minutes doing CPR, you know how these families get."

Thomas wasn't represented Wednesday by an attorney. Her next hearing is April 28.

State legislators promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month

LANSING (AP) — A group of bipartisan Michigan lawmakers is proposing legislation to help sexual assault victims.

Rep. Kristy Pagan, D-Canton, and Laura Cox, R-Livonia, are introducing resolutions in the House to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, has introduced a bill she says would increase pay to health care providers for helping police with evidence to bring attackers to justice. Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, said she has introduced companion legislation to provide adequate funding, as well.

Legislature votes to help identify people with special needs

LANSING (AP) — Legislation designed to help identify lost or injured people with special needs will soon reach Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Michigan allows for the fingerprinting of children under age 17 if parents or guardians request it. The Legislature voted Wednesday to let parents and guardians of those who have special needs to ask law enforcement for fingerprints and photos to be taken.

Supporters say the move would assist law enforcement in reuniting families when those with special needs are scared or unable to identify themselves. A sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, said the caregivers would pay the state police for the extra cost of fingerprinting and taking photos.

The bills won unanimous approval and will be enrolled today.

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