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   DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday put an indefinite halt to gay marriage in Michigan while it takes a longer look at a judge's decision overturning a 2004 ban on same-sex nuptials.
   The court granted the state's request to suspend a ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who declared the voter-approved ban unconstitutional on Friday. Hundreds of same-sex couples in four counties were married Saturday before the appeals court stepped in with a temporary stay that had been set to expire Wednesday.
   The 2-1 decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for Attorney General Bill Schuette, who had pledged to rush to the U.S. Supreme Court if the court turned him down.
   Judges Karen Caldwell and John Rogers said a stay is appropriate, especially because the Supreme Court ordered a similar time-out in January in a gay marriage case in Utah.
   "There is no apparent basis to distinguish this case or to balance the equities any differently than the Supreme Court did" in Utah, Caldwell and Rogers said. "Furthermore, several district courts that have struck down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage similar to the Michigan amendment at issue here have also granted requests for stays made by state defendants."
   Appeals court Judge Helene White disagreed.
   It will be months before the next major step by the Cincinnati-based court. It set May and June deadlines for additional filings by the state and attorneys for two Detroit-area nurses who had challenged the gay marriage ban. The court has yet to schedule a day for arguments.
   "We will now focus on preparing an appeal in defense of the constitution and the will of the people," Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout said.
   Friedman, a judge in Detroit, ruled last week in favor of Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, who live with three adopted children. They can't jointly adopt each other's kids because joint adoption in Michigan is tied to marriage.
   The judge held a two-week trial, listening to experts mostly talk about the impact of same-sex parenting on children. Friedman said conservative social scientists and economists who testified for Michigan were "unbelievable" and "clearly represent a fringe viewpoint."
   Seventeen states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same-sex marriage. Since December, bans on gay marriage have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.
   Attorneys for Rowse and DeBoer had urged the appeals court to allow gay marriages in Michigan while the case was under review.
   "The public interest in this case lies on the side of ending discrimination, promoting equality and human dignity and providing security for children," they said.
   Nearly 60 percent of Michigan voters in 2004 approved adding an amendment to the constitution that says marriage only is between a man and a woman. Friedman, however, said the election result was no defense to discrimination against gays and lesbians.
   What remains unclear is the legal status of more than 300 couples who were married Saturday in Washtenaw, Ingham, Oakland and Muskegon counties. Supporters of same-sex marriage are urging the Obama administration to recognize the marriages for purposes of federal benefits as it has done in other states.
   Gov. Rick Snyder has not signaled if the state will recognize the marriages.
Published in National News
   LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) — Some people in the United States and Canada who've been without electricity since Saturday may not get their lights back on for another day.
   That could change as more snow creeps into Maine and parts of Michigan and cold temperatures keep ice from melting off power lines and tree branches, posing new risks for outages.
   Utilities are advising customers that restoration efforts are being slowed by fallen trees.
   Tens of thousands of homes were still without power on Wednesday in Michigan, down from more than 500,000 at the storm's peak. Maine had about 60,000 without power, down from more than 100,000.
   Canadian utility officials warned that some customers could be without power until Saturday.
   The storm that started Saturday and continued Monday is being blamed for at least 27 deaths.
Published in National News
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:46

Missing Michigan teen found in Crestwood

A Michigan teenager is no longer missing, and the man who allegedly took her out of state is in custody.

Police had notified the media that 13-year-old Rachel Marie Baker might be in danger, after the Hamilton girl apparently took off overnight with a 34-year-old California man she had met on the Internet. Police were keeping an eye out for a burnt-orange 1999 Ford Mustang with an expired California license plate that they believed Joseph Arpin was driving.

Allegan County Sheriff’s Captain Frank Baker explains to WRJW radio how they found the pair, "They were working with the Crestwood Police Department after receiving information that the suspect may be in that area."

"As a result, with the assistance of the Crestwood Police Department, the suspect was stopped and a convenience store and he was arrested," said Baker

Arpin will be extradited to Michigan to face charges for taking the girl out of state without parental permission.

Published in Local News

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers have given final approval to legislation to make more low-income adults eligible for health insurance through the federal health care law.

The Medicaid expansion bill approved 75-32 Tuesday by the Republican-led House now heads to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who plans to sign it.

The newly eligible recipients would be covered starting in March instead of January because Senate Republicans refused to put the measure into effect immediately.

Medicaid expansion is part of a strategy to ensure nearly all Americans have health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was designed to cover the neediest uninsured people but became optional for states because of a Supreme Court decision.

Michigan's plan includes GOP provisions requiring federal approval. Snyder says he has received "positive feedback" from the Obama administration.

Published in National News

DETROIT (AP) - The lawyer for a Detroit-area cancer specialist accused of intentionally misdiagnosing patients says his client cannot post a $9 million bond.

Christopher Andreoff made the comment Wednesday, a day after a federal judge ordered bond for Dr. Farid Fata be increased from $170,000.

Prosecutors asked for the higher bond for fear the 48-year-old Fata would flee the country. They say FBI tracing shows Fata and his wife have $9 million in liquid assets.

A federal grand jury indicted Fata on Wednesday on health care fraud. The government says Fata ripped off Medicare by giving chemotherapy to patients who didn't need it and diagnosing cancer when it wasn't apparent.

Andreoff says his client is innocent. Fata is being held in the Wayne County jail pending a Tuesday preliminary examination.

Published in National News

Julia Merfeld, a 21-year-old Michigan woman, is set to be sentenced on July 30 after pleading guilty in June to soliciting the murder of her husband, Jacob.

Recorded footage of Julia Merfeld soliciting an undercover cop posing as a hit man has surfaced on the Internet and has shocked viewers for how calm, cool and collected she is while planning the murder.

“When I first decided to do this … it’s not that we weren’t getting along,” she says on the video. “But … terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him.

"You know, I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It’s, like, how I [could have] a clean getaway.”

Furthermore, Merfeld told the fake hit man he’d be paid $50,000 out of the 27-year-old husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy that she would receive in the case of his death. She said she would pay him in a series of weekly $9,000 installments to avoid suspicion from her bank.





Suspicions of Merfeld's intention to carry out the plans were first raised after she told coworker Carlos Ramos she wanted her husband killed. Ramos originally thought she was joking and hoped the topic would never come up again, he told local ABC affiliate WZZM 13. But when she continued to talk about the plan in more detail, Ramos made the decision to go to the police, who set up the sting with the fake hit man.

Merfeld and the undercover Michigan State Police detective met two times – first to discuss the murder plot and once more so that she could show him directions to her house, a map of the outside, a floor plan and a photograph of her husband.

While Merfeld will reportedly be sentenced to a minimum of six years, her husband and intended victim asked that she get no jail time at all, the sentencing judge said in court at the time of her guilty plea.

Instead, Chief Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti set her minimum sentence at six years. The maximum can be anything up to life in prison, depending on Marietti’s decision at Merfeld's sentencing July 30.

Published in National News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Magnum P.I., Ron Burgundy and Ron Swanson would be impressed.

Organizers of an annual laugh festival in Michigan say they've broken the world record for the most people wearing fake mustaches.

Gilda's LaughFest is reporting that 1,544 people donned various shapes and sizes of dark `staches on Thursday, the festival's opening day in Grand Rapids.

The record is awaiting Guinness World Record certification.

If it sticks, the record would be the third set at the festival in as many years. Last year's kickoff event broke the record for the largest number of people wearing fake animal noses. The year before, it was people tossing rubber chickens.

LaughFest officials say the current record of 648 mustache-wearing participants was set in September at an event organized by the St. Louis Rams.
Published in National News

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