Southwest Michigan Today: Monday May 14, 2018

May 14, 2018

Bike week begins in Kalamazoo with an emphasis on safety. A legal battle is expected over whether a petition initiative to end prevailing wage requirements should go to the Legislature. WMU baseball wins two out of three games in its weekend series with Ohio. 

Bicycle enthusiasts are trying to raise awareness about bike safety this week in the Kalamazoo area. The annual Kalamazoo Bike Week runs through Saturday. Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller says deputies will be especially alert for violations during the week. He says that includes motorists’ unsafe passing of bike riders, as well as distracted driving and other offenses. The sheriff says bicycle riders also must follow the rules of the road, including riding on the right side of the street and stopping for red traffic lights.

The group trying to protect Michigan’s prevailing wage plans to file an emergency appeal Monday with the Michigan Supreme Court. The group is trying to block a state board that meets Tuesday from sending a petition initiative to the Legislature. The measure would outlaw state and local rules that require builders on taxpayer-funded projects to pay their workers union-scale wages. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the question should go to the Legislature. That’s despite the fact that many petition circulators listed false residential addresses. The appeals court said last week that circulators who lie about a home address can be charged with a crime, but that doesn’t mean the signatures they gather are thrown out.

Great Lakes water levels remain above their long term averages. The latest report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finds that Lakes Michigan and Huron are six inches above where they were at this time last year. The Corps is predicting that over the next month most of the Great Lakes will see water levels increase between one and four inches. Lake Erie is expected to remain at its current level.

A survey by AAA shows that 50 million Americans plan to buy an electric vehicle for their next car. That 20% is up from last year’s 15%. Supporters say electric vehicles have updated safety features, longer battery life, and below average ownership costs. AAA Michigan public affairs director Susan Hiltz says there was a lot of skepticism about electric vehicles when they came out, but the annual trend shows more acceptance every year. (WCMU

Detroit’s Big Three automakers are waiting for the Trump Administration’s next steps regarding fuel economy standards and trade deals after top executives met with the President last week. The President and some of his top advisors met with executives from both U.S. and foreign automakers. And Trump’s message was plain he wants more vehicles built in the U-S. U.S. car companies want more flexibility in the environmental rules arguing that they do not reflect consumers’ current preference for pickups and SUV’s or lower fuel prices. California and more than a dozen other states have sued over the possible change in standards. (WDET

A group of advocates for clean water in Flint are launching a campaign they say will go on for a month-and-a-half designed to highlight issues that impact those in poverty. The group plans to air its concerns during a demonstration Monday at the state capitol. Before his death in 1968 Doctor Martin Luther King Junior championed what was known as the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues arising from poverty. Now a national group is again pushing a Poor People’s campaign and activists from Flint are taking the lead in Michigan. The group says it plans a protest at the state capitol in Lansing one of about 30 rallies set to be held nationwide. (WDET

In baseball, Western Michigan beat Ohio 10-6 Sunday. The Broncos won two out of three games during the weekend series with the Bobcats. Western will conclude the regular season with a three game series at Ball State beginning Friday. The Broncos are trying to secure a spot in the six team Mid-American Conference baseball tournament.