State Roundup

Grand Rapids

Fear fades in Michigan neighborhood hit by arson

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Six months after arson in a Grand Rapids neighborhood that was linked to possible gentrification opponents, fear is fading among area residents.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Tuesday there's little hint of the worry seen following the Feb. 22 fire at an East Hills townhouse that was under construction. A letter signed "The Old Neighbors" promised more damage if residents in new homes didn't leave and restore low-income housing.

Area resident Marc Savage says he has little concern about more such destruction, particularly with stepped-up police patrols.

Grand Rapids police Capt. Jeff Hertel says police are working to solve the arson and discover who wrote the letter. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives continues to help Grand Rapids police, and a task force continues its work.

Muskegon

Nonprofit forms Mich. Environmental Hall of Fame

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) -- A nonprofit group that wants to recognize people who work to help the state's environment has formed the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame.

The Muskegon Environmental Research and Environmental Society wants to honor Michigan individuals, other nonprofits, colleges and schools that have made a contribution to improving or preserving the environment, The Muskegon Chronicle reported recently.

"It's time we gave statewide recognition to projects, organizations and people for making our quality of life better," said Ron Brown, the Hall of Fame chairman who also serves as treasurer of the Muskegon Environmental Research and Environmental Society.

The Muskegon-based organization recently sent out letters to environmental organizations statewide soliciting nominations for inductees. The Hall of Fame plans to induct the first class in the spring.

Nominations are due by Feb. 20.

A physical location for the Hall of Fame hasn't been decided yet, but organizers said a Muskegon site is likely.

Nominations may be sent to Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame at Box 5038, North Muskegon, MI 49445 or emailed to Brown at ronaldbrown0284(at)att.net.

Independence Twp.

Authorities: Fixation led to murder-suicide

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Authorities say a man's fixation on a young woman led to a weekend murder-suicide that left the woman's mother and the man dead.

The Detroit Free Press reports 26-year-old Matthew Adair fatally shot 56-year-old Lou Ann Hinze and wounded 50-year-old Charles Hinze in the shoulder before fatally shooting himself Saturday at the Hinzes' home in Oakland County's Independence Township.

Authorities say 19-year-old Kristen Hinze told authorities she knew Adair from a thrift shop where she worked.

After returning home from a night out, Kristen Hinze called 911 about 2:40 a.m. Saturday to report a man in the house with a gun. Investigators say Adair began choking her, and her parents were shot after they were alerted by their daughter's screams.

The home is about 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

Detroit

Court dismisses part of Delphi retiree lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Michigan federal court has dismissed the portion of a lawsuit by white-collar workers and retirees from auto parts supplier Delphi Automotive PLC that claimed federal officials unfairly considered politics in advising the government how to change their pension plan.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Friday dismissed the workers' claims against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former "car czar" Steven Rattner and Ron Bloom, the Obama administration's senior adviser on the auto industry.

Delphi, of Troy, Mich., was GM's parts unit until it was spun off in 1999. The company was in bankruptcy court protection from 2005 to 2009. It bought back ownership stakes from GM and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. earlier this year. In May, it registered its intention to make an initial public offering worth $100 million.

The workers and retirees say that after Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection, their pension plan was changed in ways that could cut benefits for more than 15,000 people by 30 percent to 70 percent. At the same time, the pensions of union-affiliated employees were preserved as changes were made.

The salaried retirees said the differences between the way they were treated and the way the unionized retirees were treated resulted from officials favoring union members for political reasons.

Judges Arthur Tarnow and Mona Majzoub said the plaintiffs did not show Geithner, Rattner and Bloom discriminated against them, and that, even if there was discrimination, the retirees did not prove they would have been eligible for increased pension rates if the discrimination hadn't occurred.

The employees' claims against the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. remain. ou can't go on to do incredible things."

Published: Wed, Sep 7, 2011

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