Storms bring damaging winds, possible tornadoes to Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Severe thunderstorms brought heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes to parts of Michigan on Wednesday, damaging buildings and leaving tens of thousands without power.
No injuries were reported in the storms.
The National Weather Service said a possible tornado was reported in Grand Rapids and emergency management officials in surrounding Kent County said several possible brief tornadoes were spotted on radar.
Firefighters evacuated a Grand Rapids apartment building after winds tore off the roof and damaged other nearby buildings. Damage was also reported in nearby Lowell and Ada.
DTE Energy said about 70,000 of its customers were affected, with about 16,000 without power as of Thursday afternoon. Consumers Energy said more than 57,000 of its customers were affected, with about 12,000 without power Thursday afternoon.
Michigan to join tentative deal with OxyContin makers
LANSING (AP) — Michigan is joining a tentative multi-state deal with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over the company's role in the opioid epidemic.
State Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed her office's plan Thursday. Roughly half of the states are participating, while the other half reject the terms as insufficient.
Nessel said she respects fellow Democratic attorneys general who have opted out of settlement discussions, but she must pursue the course that's most beneficial to Michigan. Nessel said Michigan residents are "best served by an infusion of funds into our state as quickly as possible so we can begin providing relief to our hardest-hit communities and to provide assistance to those who are suffering from addiction."
The deal may be worth up to $12 billion.
The company is expected to file for bankruptcy protection.
Whitmer on vetoing Republican budget bills: 'We'll see'
LANSING (AP) — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was noncommittal about signing final spending bills that began advancing in the Republican-led Legislature on Thursday, a day after talks broke down between her and GOP leaders.
"We'll see," she said, hours before House-Senate conference committees approved six budget measures, including a $15.2 billion school aid budget.
More of the Republican-controlled panels are scheduled to vote next week despite there being no overall deal with the first-year governor.
A budget must be enacted before Oct. 1 to avoid a partial government shutdown. If Whitmer signs whatever lawmakers send to her desk, she could still use her line-item veto power to nix specific spending and force GOP legislators back to the table.
Negotiations ended Wednesday after the sides disagreed over how much to direct to roads and bridges in the coming fiscal year. They had previously agreed to table talks on a long-term road-funding plan — Whitmer's proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike was rejected outright — until after finalizing the budget.
Also Thursday, House-Senate conference committees approved bills that include a $120 million boost to protect drinking water — which matches the total amount proposed by the governor.
Michigan joins coalition promoting outdoor recreation
GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Michigan has joined a national coalition of state governments, retailers and nonprofit groups that promotes outdoor recreation.
The Confluence of States says more people need to know about the economic, social and public health benefits of playing outside.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan's participation during an "Afternoon for the Outdoors" event Wednesday in Grand Rapids.
To be eligible, states must establish an outdoor recreation council and create an office of outdoor recreation with a director and a dedicated budget.
Whitmer appointed Brad Garmon to lead Michigan's office. He previously worked with the Michigan Environmental Council and has advised the state on public lands, water and tourism issues.
Garmon said Michigan is home to several large outdoor vehicle, gear and apparel manufacturers, plus smaller companies poised for growth.