State Roundup

Study: Smoking ban not hurting bars, restaurants

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A study says Michigan’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants has not significantly hurt sales at those establishments.
The study commissioned by the state’s Department of Community Health and conducted by University of Michigan researcher Helen Levy looked at trends in tax collections, lottery and cigarette sales from 2006 to 2011. The ban took effect in May 2010.
Study results released Monday show small bars or nightclubs may have lost sales since the ban, but eating and drinking establishments were not adversely affected.
Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Scott Ellis tells The Detroit Free Press declining tax collections and Keno lottery sales can be linked to the ban.
American Cancer Society spokeswoman Judy Stewart says “smoke-free air laws protect workers from dangerous secondhand smoke without economic consequences.”

Mom wants justice for son who was killed by police

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The mother of a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by Saginaw police said Monday night that the fight for her son’s justice will continue even though prosecutors aren’t filing charges against the officers involved.
Jewell Hall spoke during public forum at a local church that was organized to discuss the death of 49-year-old Milton Hall, who was shot 11 times by police in a parking lot on July 1. Police have said Hall refused to drop a knife, and that 46 rounds were fired by six officers.
“I’m stunned, I’m still in disbelief,” she said during the meeting. “Milton Hall didn’t do anything that warranted being shot at 46 times and killed.”
Hall said she wants to see police held to a higher standard in such cases, but added that anyone who doesn’t meet that standard must be “punished to the fullest extent of the law,” The Saginaw News reported.
She said independent investigations are under way, but she also asked for national support.
“Several organizations are working hard to fight for justice for Milton Hall and to bring much needed change in Saginaw,” she said. “But for true justice, it is great to have the national community involved. My history and my age tells me, anything that changes, it’s because the national community is involved.”
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Detroit, also attended the meeting and said the case is a national issue, saying “we’re all in this together.” He listed to witnesses relay what they saw the night of the shooting and promised to return to Saginaw.
Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael Thomas announced last week that no criminal charges would be filed against any of the police involved.
Hall lives in Rio Rancho, N.M., where she is a critic of what she considers to be excessive force by police in nearby Albuquerque. She has said she never thought she would find herself so personally involved in the fight.

Boyne Falls
Man paralyzed in snowboarding jump loses lawsuit

BOYNE FALLS, Mich. (AP) — A man paralyzed while snowboarding at Boyne Mountain Ski Resort has failed to persuade the state appeals court to reinstate his lawsuit.
Patrick N. Anderson says a certain jump was not obvious before he was badly injured in Boyne’s terrain park. His expert says the jump should have been constructed in a safer way.
But the appeals court pointed to a state law and ruled in favor of Boyne. The law grants immunity to ski area operators and says skiers and snowboarders know there are dangers when they hit the slopes.
The court says Anderson would have seen the jump if he heeded all signs and warnings.

Horse rescue agencies are full in tough economy

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — Horse rescue agencies in Michigan are running out of room.
A tough economy and drought has driven up the price of feed, leading several owners to abandon their horses or have the animals slaughtered, WILX-TV reported on Monday.
Horses Haven has 58 hoofed animals on its 23 acres in Howell, northwest of Detroit, and can’t afford to take anymore. The farm is run by volunteers and donations.
“We do have a waiting list that’s about 100 horses long and a couple years to get into Horses Haven,” said Jill Fredrickson, the group’s president.
About 20 other rescue farms in Michigan also are full.
Feed prices are going up a third to a half, according to Karen Waite, an equine extension specialist at Michigan State University.
The number of starving horses could continue going up.
“There’s no easy solution,” Waite said. “For folks that haven’t taken the time to figure out what they are going to do, we could see increased issues as the winter progresses.”

Inmate loses  one-day trial over bad teeth

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Four years of litigation has ended with a one-day trial: A jury says Michigan prison officials are not responsible for an inmate’s dental problems.
Jurors returned the verdict Monday in Marquette federal court. Jerry Flanory claims he lost a tooth in 2006 and suffered gum disease because he was denied toothpaste as a punishment for not attending prison classes.
But the Corrections Department had evidence that Flanory’s bad tooth wasn’t a new problem. He had only five of the typical 32 teeth when he entered prison. Officials said he had access to toothpaste.
Flanory’s lawsuit alleging cruel punishment was dismissed as frivolous in 2009, but an appeals court reinstated it. The 60-year-old from Flint served as his own attorney.
The Corrections Department now can recover some trial costs from Flanory.

Flint foundation gives $3.1M to afterschool effort

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has awarded a grant worth $3.1 million for afterschool programs at more than a dozen schools in six Genesee County districts.
The Flint-based foundation says the grant benefits a Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce-led program called YouthQuest. It offers afterschool activities and services that promote learning, physical fitness, leadership, volunteerism and exploration of new interests and skills.
YouthQuest served about 2,800 elementary and middle school students during the last school year.
The Flint-based foundation’s support of the program has totaled $27 million since 2000.
The Mott Foundation was established by automotive pioneer C.S. Mott in 1926.

Coalition files suit against citizen check-off box

DETROIT (AP) — A voting-rights coalition has sued Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, challenging her decision to have a check-off box asking voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship on November ballot applications.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Detroit federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Michigan chapter, unions and others. It alleges violations of state and federal law and seeks to have the box removed from applications.
Gov. Rick Snyder recently vetoed a bill that included a requirement for voters to check a similar citizenship box.
Secretary of State spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau says Johnson “is committed to secure and fair elections.” Gendreau added citizenship is a requirement to vote under state and federal law.
Johnson ordered the box to appear in the February and August primary elections.