State Roundup

Grand Rapids

New statue of Pre s ident Ford insta lled in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A new bronze statue of former President Gerald R. Ford has been installed at the presidential museum that bears his name in Grand Rapids.

The replica of a work dedicated in May in Washington, D.C., was installed Monday outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, The Grand Rapids Press reported. The installation came ahead of the funeral for former first lady Betty Ford, who died Friday at age 93.

"The Ford family is delighted with the artist's rendition of President Ford. They believe it captures him perfectly," said Matt McLogan, a spokesman for the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.

Funeral services for Betty Ford are scheduled for Tuesday in California and Thursday in Michigan. She will be buried Thursday next to her husband on the museum grounds.

The 450-pound, 7-foot tall casting depicts Ford as if in motion, holding papers in his left hand and looking off into the distance. The statue is by Michigan native J. Brett Grill, who formerly lived near Grand Rapids. He said he is proud to see his work on display at the museum.

"I think it's especially meaningful to me. It's my hometown," Grill said. "I grew up with all the lore of the Ford family."

On Thursday, workers made way for the Ford statue as they lifted out the bronze spaceman sculpture, known as "Man in Space," by crane. It is to be refurbished before being installed after the conclusion of the ArtPrize competition this fall at the museum.

Oak Park

Front-yard vegetables cause stir in Detroit suburb

OAK PARK, Mich. (AP) -- A suburban Detroit woman's front-yard vegetable garden has caused a stir after she was cited for violating city rules about landscaping.

Julie Bass was cited last month for violating an ordinance in Oak Park that requires grass, ground cover, shrubbery or other "suitable live plant material." She's fighting the citation, and a hearing is scheduled for July 26, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reported.

The misdemeanor carries the possibility of 93 days in jail, but Oak Park Mayor Gerry Naftaly said Bass won't be put behind bars. He said he and the City Council could reconsider the ordinance if residents and local organizations say the city should allow such gardens.

Bass and her husband, Jason Bass, put in raised garden beds after digging up the yard to replace a sewer pipe. She said she called the city planning department to check whether a vegetable garden would be OK, and said she thought it would be allowed as decorative.

"Why do something that's decorative and useless," she said, referring to flowers. "Vegetables are good for kids, and growing food is a real process."

Part of the idea, she said, was to educate her children about food and where it comes from.

City officials, who have fielded phone calls, threats and emails about the citation, said they are being misunderstood.

"I don't know of any community where I have seen a full garden in the front yard," said Kevin Rulkowski, of the city's planning department. "In planning and zoning, we try and put things in appropriate places."


City approves cap on marijuana dispensaries

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The Lansing City Council has approved a cap on medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

The Lansing State Journal reports that council approved the cap of 48 by a vote of 5-3 on Monday. Application fees of $1,000 also were adopted.

The moves complete an ordinance regulating Lansing's emerging medical marijuana businesses.

Michigan voters agreed in 2008 to legalize marijuana for the treatment of some health problems. Other communities have passed local rules.


New trial in popular teacher's 2009 death

COLDWATER, Mich. (AP) -- A new trial for a Branch County man convicted of killing his wife on their young son's birthday is expected to take at least two weeks.

Jury selection in the trial of 42-year-old Tom Foley was scheduled for Tuesday at the Branch County courthouse in Coldwater.

The path for a new trial was cleared in June after the Michigan Supreme Court declined to take an appeal from the prosecutor.

Dee Dee Foley was a popular teacher in the Union City school district. The 41-year-old was fatally shot in 2009 in Branch County's Girard Township in southern Michigan.

Tom Foley was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, but the trial judge and appeals court granted him a new trial.


Groups team up to provide meals for SE Mich. kids

DETROIT (AP) -- A number of groups are asking corporate and community donors to come together to reach a goal of providing 2 million meals to hungry southeastern Michigan children this summer.

Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan want to raise $250,000 for the Hunger Free Summer campaign.

The groups say they raised $36,000 in the first week and will be raising cash through Sept. 1.

Donations made during the 10-week Hunger Free Summer campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Charter One Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hiller's and The Young Foundation.

Published: Wed, Jul 13, 2011