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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder released a plan Monday to boost recycling of household solid waste in Michigan, which lags behind most other states despite once being a trendsetter with its beverage container deposit law. The initiative calls for doubling within two years the rate at which Michigan recycles cans, newspapers, bottles and other household refuse, presently estimated at 15 percent. Even then, it would remain below the national average, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts at 35 percent. By John Flesher. SENT: 625 words, photos MIDTN101-103.
DETROIT — Same-sex couples who were married hours after Michigan's ban on gay nuptials was overturned sued Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday to try to force the state to recognize their newlywed status and grant the legal benefits that come with it. More than 300 couples were married in four counties on a Saturday in March, a day after a federal judge struck down Michigan's gay marriage ban. But Snyder won't recognize those marriages while a higher court considers an appeal of the decision — a process that could take months or even longer. By Ed White SENT: 470 words, MIPS101-102, 104.
DETROIT — General Motors is replacing the executives in charge of communications and human resources as it struggles with a string of embarrassing recalls that have led to congressional hearings and federal investigations. Communications chief Selim Bingol and human resources head Melissa Howell are leaving the company to pursue other interests. John Quattrone, who currently is executive director of human resources, will replace Howell, but GM has not yet named a replacement for Bingol. GM is in the midst of a crisis over safety of some of its older-model vehicles, including 2.6 million small cars worldwide that have been recalled to replace faulty ignition switches. GM says at least 13 deaths have been linked to the switch problem. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 500 words.
— GAS PRICES-MICHIGAN — AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have risen about 6 cents during the past week to a statewide average of about $3.71 per gallon. The auto club says Monday the average is about 19 cents per gallon more than this time last year. SENT: 100 words.
AROUND THE STATE:
DETROIT — Detroit Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on the city's financial crisis, it was announced Monday. The Pulitzers are given out each year by Columbia University in New York on the recommendation of a board of journalists and others. In their announcement of the award for commentary, prize organizers said that the Detroit native's columns on Detroit's bankruptcy were "written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in their critique." By David Goodman. SENT: 440 words, photos.
CROTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Michigan is on a weather roller coaster, with rivers overflowing their banks, hundreds of thousands of people losing power and mid-70s temperatures making way for a freeze and possible record-breaking snowfall in some areas. Flooding on western Michigan's Muskegon River has forced some evacuations in Newaygo County's Croton Township. The National Weather Service says Monday's high reached 75 degrees west of Detroit at Ypsilanti, where it's expected to drop to the mid-20s early Tuesday with up to two inches of snow. A spring snowstorm could shatter Flint's 82.9-inch seasonal record, while Detroit needs 1.9 inches of snow to overturn its 133-year-old record of 93.6 inches. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 450 words by 6 p.m., photos.
DETROIT — Detroit officials will soon have a new tool to help them fight blight: an auction website to give vacant, city-owned houses to people willing to quickly fix them up, city leaders said Monday. Beginning May 5, one home will be auctioned each day on the land bank website. Of the 15 homes currently listed for sale, the first dozen are located in Detroit's East English Village neighborhood. The East English Village Association will host an April 27 open house for bidders interested in homes in the east side neighborhood. SENT: 290 words.
EXCHANGE-PITCH FOR CURLING
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The curlers are coming. No, not those pink hair-warping rolls. Curlers, as in curling, that Olympic sport played on a sheet of ice that resembles the lovechild of shuffleboard and bowling. Curling-curious Traverse City resident Don Piche wanted to organize a club for years even though he knew little about the sport that draws its roots to 16th century Scotland. An AP Member Exchange by Nathan Payne. Traverse City Record-Eagle. SENT: 515 words, photos MITRA101-102.
MICHIGAN STATE-NORTHERN IRELAND — Michigan State University officials have renewed and expanded an agreement with an agricultural college in Northern Ireland. The East Lansing school said its College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Northern Ireland's College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise recently re-signed an endowment and student exchange pact. SENT: 160 words.
DETROIT SYMPHONY-SPIELBERG AND WILLIAMS — Tickets for a special concert in Detroit featuring director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams sold out in record time. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra says tickets to the show were snapped up 15 minutes after they went on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Monday. That's a Detroit Symphony box-office record. SENT: 130 words, photos MIDTN109-112.
WATER TOWER DESIGN — A Michigan community's selection of a water tower design that prompted some city council opposition and online backlash is getting another look. Del and Stephanie Belcher started a Facebook page titled "The Proposed Jackson Water Tower Is Super Lame" last week. The design features "JACKSON" in capital letters with "Founded 1829" underneath the name of the city. SENT: 130 words.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Joe Dumars is stepping down as the Detroit Pistons' president of basketball operations. The team made the move official Monday, a day after the Pistons lost their home finale and dropped to 29-52 with one game remaining in the season. Detroit will miss the postseason for a fifth consecutive year. Expectations were higher this season after the Pistons signed Josh Smith and traded for Brandon Jennings. The new-look roster flopped, and now somebody else will be in charge of the next effort to bring Detroit back to the postseason. By Noah Trister. SENT: 409 words. UPCOMING: 600 words, photo NY160.
FBN--LIONS-TOWN HALL MEETING
DETROIT — Lions team president Tom Lewand and first-year coach Jim Caldwell plan to speak to and answer questions from season-ticket holders tonight at Ford Field. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 500 words.
— FBN--LIONS-MOVES — The Detroit Lions have claimed defensive end Kourtnei Brown off waivers. The move was made Monday. Brown was released by the Buffalo Bills last week. The former Clemson player was not drafted in 2012 and was cut last year by the Bills before the regular season. Buffalo re-signed him in January to a reserve-future contract. SENT: 60 words.
— FBC--MICHIGAN-GIBBONS— A student task force has found that the University of Michigan failed to explain a yearslong delay between the alleged sexual assault of a student by former football player Brendan Gibbons and his expulsion in December. The Central Student Government examined the Ann Arbor school's student sexual misconduct policy and released its task force's findings Sunday. SENT: 130 words.
TORONTO — Brendan Shanahan is officially on the job in the Toronto Maple Leafs' front office. The Hockey Hall of Famer was introduced as Toronto's new president on Monday and says he's eager to get to work learning about the organization, which missed the playoffs after a late-season collapse. The 45-year-old Toronto native will oversee all team operations for the franchise. Shanahan, who will also be an alternate governor, had been working as the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety. He won three Stanley Cups and played for five teams, including the Detroit Red Wings, over his long playing career. SENT: 348 words.
HKN--NHL PLAYOFFS-10 THINGS
A look at 10 things to watch when the NHL playoffs begin this week with a new-look format, some stars trying to return from injuries and renewed rivalries. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: About 900 words.
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