Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 31, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 12/31/2013

FROM WIRE REPORTS
Associated Press

— Cold hits amid power restoration

LANSING — Colder weather made its way into Michigan on Monday as crews worked to restore power to the last people left without electrical service following an ice storm more than a week ago.

In the Lansing area, where roughly 800 Lansing Board of Water & Light customers were without power as of Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported the temperature stood at 18 at 2 p.m.

A special Lansing City Council meeting was planned for Monday night and officials with the municipal power company were expected to speak.

Michigan authorities blame at least five deaths on the storm, including three killed in crashes and two who died from carbon monoxide fumes from emergency generators.

 

Tugboat free from Lake Michigan ice

SAULT STE. MARIE — The U.S. Coast Guard said it and the crew of a tugboat helped another tugboat break free from between two ice floes in Lake Michigan.

The tug Undaunted was pushing the unloaded barge Pere Marquette 41 at the time it became stuck about 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. The Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie responded to a call about 4:10 a.m. Friday and there was concern the tug might run aground.

The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort worked to free the Undaunted that morning. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, a 240-foot icebreaker, also was on hand. Radio station WGHN reported the Undaunted and the barge were escorted to Ludington.

No injuries were reported.

 

Lt. gov. signs mental health courts bills

LANSING — Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the governor’s point man on mental health issues, signed legislation Monday that allows for the expansion of the state’s mental health court program.

Mental health courts have been successful in reducing the number of offenders with mental health or substance abuse problems who break the law, Calley said Monday.

“The most effective and humane way to deal with the problem of recidivism is through a comprehensive system of smart justice that recognizes the connection between enforcement and prevention,” Calley said in a statement. “Mental health courts play a critical role in that system. They have demonstrated their value by ensuring public safety, easing the strain on our corrections system and providing mentally ill offenders with needed treatment.”

 

State gets $1.6M for kid’s health coverage

LANSING — The federal government said Michigan is getting $1.6 million for children’s health care as a bonus for improving their access to treatment and Medicaid coverage.

The grant announced Monday comes from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The agency said Michigan was one of 23 states that received bonuses totaling about $307 million.

This is the last year for the bonuses, authorized by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009.

The federal agency said states could qualify for bonuses by implementing procedures to simplify Medicaid and other children’s health insurance enrollment and renewal processes.

It said that nationwide, the proportion of uninsured children declined from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2011.