State Roundup

Frankenmuth
Singers fall short of world record for holiday caroling

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. (AP) — Singers have fallen short in an attempt in Frankenmuth to break the Guinness World Records mark for the most people singing Christmas carols.

St. Lorenz Church and School said Monday there were about 500 fewer people than needed at Saturday’s “Christmas in July” event.

They would’ve had to sing carols at 10 or more homes on at least two streets. The current record was set in 2013 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when more than 1,800 people sang.

Family Life Radio, St. Lorenz Church and School, Tri-Star Bank and Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth teamed up for the Michigan attempt. Postings online from Family
Life Radio and Bronner’s thanked the about 1,300 who turned out.

Participants alternately sang “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” as they went from home to home.

Flint
Habitat for Humanity effort creating homes for work expands

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A program involving Flint that aims to help Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the nation create homes that also can be used as a place to work is expanding.
The Flint Journal reports Habitat for Humanity is working on two Flint locations, turning each into a first-floor business and a second-story home. Work also began recently on a third in Davison.

Leslie Voiles, a volunteer coordinator, says the buildings will give entrepreneurs long-term success not only through a new home but also a place to begin their business.
Last year, the program kicked off in Flint.

Habitat for Humanity raises money for the renovation and the building but recipients are responsible for paying back the organization through a zero-interest mortgage on the building for the next 20 years.

Detroit
Mass held to protest bronze Satan statue

DETROIT (AP) — Several hundred people attended a Mass at a Detroit Catholic church to protest an 8½-foot-tall bronze statue of Satan that crowds of people also lined up to see.

Satanic Temple had said it would unveil the statue Saturday at a Detroit location that only people with tickets would know. Hundreds lined up Saturday evening to get the tickets as Christian protesters rallied nearby.

Earlier Saturday, The Detroit News says 200-250 people attended Mass at St. Joseph Church in a protest against the Satanic event.

The group had hoped to place the statue at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City until Oklahoma’s Supreme Court banned religious displays on Capitol grounds.

The Satanic Temple now says it wants to erect it outside Arkansas’ statehouse, where a Ten Commandments monument also is planned.

Lansing
Parking spots ready to become temporary parks

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The west lane of the street in front of the state Capitol in Lansing will be turned into temporary mini-parks this week.

Businesses and organizations will host the “parklets” on Capitol Avenue, in which people will be invited to play games, read books, sit down to eat lunch, hold a business meeting or even play in a sandbox, the Lansing State Journal reported.

“We feel that putting a little park on the side of the road will grab people’s attention and get them thinking about way to use those public spaces,” said Derek Tisler, who is coordinating the project as part of the Michigan Municipal League. “We’re hoping for a conversation starter that will get people thinking about the long-term potential of the corridor.”

The concept originated in San Francisco a decade ago, when a metered parking space was transformed briefly into a mini-park complete with a bench, grass and potted tree. Tisler’s says that was an inspiration to do something similar in Lansing.

The idea is to encourage people to spend time in and around Capitol Avenue for the sake of being there, and not just for work or legislative business.

“We believe people want to live in areas they enjoy,” Tisler said. “The Capitol lawn is a beautiful space in front of a beautiful building — we feel it’s underutilized.”

Participating organizations will set up their “parklets” and the spaces will be open for the public Tuesday and Wednesday, Tisler said. The project is planned to coincide with an annual farmers market scheduled for Thursday on the Capitol lawn.

Marquette
$40,000 to improve winter deer habitat in UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — A $40,000 gift from the Safari Club International Foundation will help improve the winter habitat for deer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of natural Resources says the money will help fund a wildlife biologist position that is assigned to develop comprehensive strategies for 57 winter habitat complexes. The focus of the work primarily will be on land that isn’t managed by the DNR.

The Upper Peninsula Habitat Work Group was reconvened this year to focus on improving and conserving critical winter habitat.

Officials recently said Michigan’s 2014 deer hunting harvest was down about 15 percent from 2013, due in part to severe winter weather in recent years. Regional declines were the greatest in the Upper Peninsula, where the overall harvest was down nearly 36 percent.


Caseville
Patrol boat named for sheriff who drowned in 1932

CASEVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A sheriff’s department at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb has a new patrol boat named for a sheriff who drowned in Lake Huron in 1932.

The boat is named for Huron County Sheriff Joseph Murray who fell overboard while checking for illegal fishing nets. Many family members attended a dedication ceremony Friday in Caseville.

The new patrol boat formerly belonged to the federal government. It was transported from California and equipped with electronics and new 250-horsepower engines. Some work was done by deputies.

Sheriff Kelly Hanson says people in distress in Lake Huron will get a second chance at life because of the boat.

Grand Rapids
Civil rights panel backs ‘Take on Hate’ campaign

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is backing a national campaign to challenge discrimination against U.S. Arabs and Muslims.

The commission last week approved a resolution supporting the Take on Hate campaign while meeting in Grand Rapids. The bipartisan panel that investigates discrimination complaints co-hosted a kickoff event for the campaign last year in Detroit.

Commission Chairman Arthur Horwitz says both the group and the state’s Civil Rights Department are “proud to support” the campaign. Take on Hate is sponsored by the National Network for Arab American Communities. It’s a project of the Dearborn economic and social services agency ACCESS.

“Since 9/11, worsening attitudes toward Arab and Muslim Americans have manifest themselves in a 1,600 percent increase in reported hate crimes in these communities,” Horwitz said in a statement following Monday’s meeting. “Misunderstanding and fear lead to unstable communities. The Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Department are proud to support the campaign to end discrimination and violence against all groups.”

The commission also approved a resolution honoring former Gov. George Romney on the 20th anniversary of his death, which occurred July 26, 1995. Romney, who ran for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination and served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Richard Nixon, was chairman of the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1963.

Detroit
Lost cat found in Honolulu traced to Detroit family

HONOLULU (AP) — When a family moved from Hawaii to Detroit, Michigan, more than a year ago, they thought they had lost their cat forever.

Bogie, a Siamese cat, was supposed to move with the family, but he escaped his kennel on a United Cargo flight, nonprofit Hawaii CatFriends told KHON-TV.

Bogie was missing for 19 months before he was reconnected with the family in Michigan.

“I found Bogie about six or eight months ago,” Hawaii resident Bill Antilla said. “There’s a number of cats I manage on Ualena Street near the Honolulu airport. Bogie started showing up periodically.”

Antilla feeds a colony of stray cats in the area three nights a week. He is a volunteer for CatFriends, a nonprofit that spays and neuters feral cats on Oahu.

Bogie was friendlier than most feral cats and caught Antilla’s eye because he looked like a purebred Siamese — unusual among the local feral cats.

He discovered that the cat was microchipped and the Hawaiian Humane Society was able to trace it back to the family in Detroit.

“Probably about 30 minutes later, I received a call from the daughter. She was just ecstatic we found Bogie,” Antilla said.

United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart told KHON-TV how Bogie escaped.

“Our agents were working to secure the door of the kennel with plastic ties to ensue Bogie’s safety throughout the flight,” Hobart wrote in a message. “During this process the cat escaped from his kennel. Our teams searched for the cat and put up posters in the surrounding areas. We are overjoyed that Bogie has been reunited with his owner.”

Antilla said this is an example of why pets should be microchipped.

CatFriends shipped Bogie on United Cargo on Thursday. He was reunited with the family in Detroit on Friday morning.

“They’re so excited to have him back,” CatFriends President Jennifer Kishimori said. “They said now when they brought him home, they have carpeting, and he’s thrilled to roll around on carpeting and not on the street anymore.”

Detroit
More than 4 million registered as organ donors

DETROIT (AP) — The state’s effort to increase organ donations appear to be paying off, as more than four million people are now registered in Michigan.

About 52 percent of adults are on the donor registry, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson told participants Saturday at an organ donation awareness event on Detroit’s Belle Isle.
Johnson’s office said about 27 percent of adults were on the organ donor registry when she took office in 2011.

She has directed staffers to ask customers coming in to Secretary of State branches if they want to sign up for the registry. Two million people have added their names over the past four years.

“Organ, tissue and eye donation saves and improves lives,” Johnson said. “Every name on the list means hope for the 3,500 people in Michigan waiting for a life-saving or life-enhancing transplant.”

About 85 percent of those who register sign up through the Secretary of State’s office.

“With more than half of the state’s adults signed up to be organ donors, we’re getting ever closer to our ultimate goal of 100 percent participation,” Johnson said. “It is my belief that the more people learn about the benefits of organ and tissue donation, and the power it has to transform lives, the more likely they are to sign up on the donor registry.”

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