State Roundup

Lawmakers OK wine tasting, beer ‘growler’ refills

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Small winemakers could offer tastings and sell their wine at farmers markets around Michigan under legislation headed to Gov. Rick Snyder.
The bill approved 37-0 by the state Senate Wednesday would require small winemakers wanting to do business at a farmers market to pay $25 for a permit.
Another measure sent to Snyder would let regular bars and restaurants fill growlers of craft beer for patrons to consume elsewhere. Current law only allows brewpubs and microbreweries to refill growlers for off-site consumption.
Supporters of the bills say they will cater to growing industries in Michigan. Some concern has been raised about expanding access to alcohol, but the legislation drew overwhelming support from lawmakers.

Traverse City
Cash, keys taken from mayor’s unlocked truck

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Someone made off with cash and keys from the Traverse City mayor’s unlocked pick-up truck while it was parked outside his home.
Michael Estes says the early morning theft on Monday has taught him a lesson.
Estes never used to lock his vehicle, even when he left his wallet and both sets of keys inside his pickup truck.
“That changes now,” he said.
Estes says he had about $400 in the wallet, and it will cost him $700 to get a new key system for his truck, including the cost to have it towed. The mayor also is having the locks changed on his house, although he said he wasn’t certain he even had a house key.
“I never used one,” he said. “I will now.”
Police Capt. Brian Heffner said a thief or thieves are regularly targeting unlocked cars in the city.
“These individuals have not entered any locked cars,” Heffner told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. “If people lock their cars, these individuals pass them up because apparently they are finding enough unlocked cars in the city.”
Estes said his daughter also parked a car in his driveway the night of the robbery, and she lost about $100 from her wallet and her car keys.
“She followed in my footsteps, this misguided philosophy — she’s trusting of people,” he said.

State may add checkoff funds to income tax forms

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan residents could contribute to funds aimed at fighting Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease through their income tax returns under legislation nearing final approval in Lansing.
Bills set for passage Wednesday in the state Senate already have passed the House.
Money in one new checkoff fund would be donated to Alzheimer’s groups to help unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. Money in the ALS of Michigan Fund would support research to find a cure for ALS, provide services to patients and support ALS clinics in the state.
Another bill up for a vote would create an income tax checkoff for the Amber Alert program.
Michigan had seven voluntary checkoff funds for the 2012 tax year. Other funds have been dropped for not raising enough from taxpayers.

Snyder signs an extension of health claims tax

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation continuing a 1 percent tax on health insurance claims that helps pay for medical insurance for 1.9 million low-income residents.
The tax took is due to expire at year’s end. The measure signed Tuesday extends collection of the tax through 2017.
The law doesn’t address the problem that the tax is bringing in $130 million a year less than expected. If legislators don’t find a long-term fix, Michigan could lose $400 million federal Medicaid match.
Snyder also has signed legislation letting judges assign GPS tethering devices to defendants on bail for assaultive crimes.

Mom: Son making ‘miracle’ recovery from West Nile

FOWLER, Mich. (AP) — A 10-year-old Michigan boy paralyzed last year after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus is a “walking miracle,” his mother said.
Travis Thelen has “far exceeded expectations,” said his mother, Marti Thelen. “The doctor said he’s never seen progress like this.”
The Fowler boy was diagnosed with West Nile by physicians at Sparrow Hospital on Sept. 6.
He’s looking forward to starting fifth grade in the fall. But first there’s summer vacation, when he can spend more outside time playing with friends.
“I can run now,” Travis told the newspaper. “I don’t have to sit in the wheelchair anymore.”?