State Roundup ...

Unions hurry up contracts before new law arrives
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Some unions in Michigan are working to get new contracts approved before the state’s right-to-work law takes effect next month to delay when they’ll be affected by changes.
The Detroit News reports some see it as an effort to keep getting dues from members until after a new contract expires. Union leaders representing teachers in Utica, Plymouth-Canton, Dearborn and Detroit school districts all are working toward new agreements.
The Lansing State Journal reports unions at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College are exploring the possibility of extending their labor contracts to delay the law’s impact on them.
The law passed last year takes effect March 27. It prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues or fees, but contracts in place before that date are immune from the new rules.

State plans to issue licenses to illegal immigrants
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Illegal immigrants brought to the country as children can start applying for Michigan driver’s licenses and state IDs this week.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office will begin accepting applications Tuesday.
President Barack Obama last year announced a policy letting illegal immigrants apply for temporary work permits if they were brought to the U.S. as children. But a small number of states including Michigan resisted allowing those immigrants to have driver’s licenses.
Johnson, a Republican, changed her mind recently ago after the Obama administration clarified the younger immigrants’ legal status.
To be eligible, immigrants must prove they arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16, are 30 or younger, have been living in the country at least five years and are in school, have graduated or served in the military.

Former senator finally drops title after complaints
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Former state Sen. Jason Allen admits he still refers to himself as a senator, even though he’s been out of office for more than two years.
Allen is a high-ranking official in the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. But the Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Republican has sent notes and made recorded calls to people referring to himself as a senator.
Grand Traverse County Commissioner Larry Inman says it’s odd.
Allen told the Record-Eagle that he felt comfortable using the title. But then he said he would stop. Northern Michigan Republicans believe he simply wants to stay in the public eye while considering a run for another office, possibly Congress.
Allen calls speculation about his future a “lot of idle chat.”

WMU athlete is finalist for humanitarian award
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A Western Michigan University hockey player is scoring many points off the ice.
Brett Beebe is one of five finalists for a national hockey humanitarian award. He has raised more than $25,000 for cancer research in honor of his mother, renovated a home for a struggling family in Kalamazoo and created a mentoring program for students in elementary school.
Beebe, a senior from Redondo Beach, Calif., says he’s in a position to help others as a college athlete.
The winner of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award will be announced in April at the college hockey championship in Pittsburgh.

Students win energy contest with helicopter robots

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A team of graduate students from the University of Michigan has won a $50,000 prize for work on unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
SkySpecs, LLC is developing small, robotic helicopters that could gather inspection data from hard-to-reach or dangerous places in places such as bridges and wind turbines.
The university and DTE Energy established the annual contest five years ago to encourage students across the state to take clean technology ideas from the drawing board to real-world ventures.
Twenty-two teams from 10 Michigan colleges and universities reached the competition’s semifinal round. Each spent six months on their project. They received training in forming businesses and up to $2,000 in funding.
Second-place teams are developing systems to help grow fresh produce at home and create a better bike sharing system.


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