BC-MI–Michigan Features, MI





If you have any questions about the features, please call News Editor Roger Schneider in the Detroit AP bureau at (313) 259-0650 or email him at rschneider@ap.org





LANSING, Mich. — Public health officials and doctors are growing increasingly concerned that Michigan isn’t doing a good job ensuring that parents have their kids immunized against diseases. Michigan has the fourth-highest percentage of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated for school because of religious or philosophical reasons. The state last year also saw the second-largest drop in the percentage of children being immunized, at a time of whooping cough and other outbreaks. By David Eggert.

AP Photos planned.

Eds: This week’s Capital Focus and a Michigan AP Centerpiece. Moving as an advance Friday.


MIDLAND COUNTY, Mich. — Sometimes the greatest obstacle to leaving the past behind is getting the wheels to drive away from it. His Hands, a nonprofit, full-service automotive garage open to the public, is a Midland County church’s way of helping out. The garage is at Messiah Lutheran Church in Bullock Creek, where customers pay based on ability. By Brad Devereaux. MLive.com.

AP Photos.

Eds: An AP Member Exchange. Moved Thursday.


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A long road landed Billy Heck in the small film booth perched at the rear of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City. Three months ago, the Iraq war veteran worked the night shift at Home Depot loading trucks and going nowhere fast. All Heck needed was a chance, an opportunity, to get his life moving in the right direction. By Nathan Payne. Traverse City Record-Eagle.

AP Photos.

Eds: An AP Member Exchange. Moved Thursday.



HOWELL, Mich. — A Livingston County company’s work has made it safer for you to bite into that apple or enjoy that salad for lunch. ToolWorx Information Products Inc. recently was awarded a patent for its SmartVision system, which is used to keep track of fresh produce from the field to store shelves across the nation. By Mike Lammi. Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (Howell).

AP Photos pursuing

Eds: An AP Member Exchange. Moved Thursday.


DETROIT — When Walter Johnson took his wedding vows, he truly meant for better or for worse. So when his wife, Mattie, became bedridden 10 years ago, the Detroit resident couldn’t imagine anyone but himself taking care of her. Mattie Johnson, 65, uses a feeding tube, can’t walk or talk, and needs adult diapers. Johnson, who is retired and receives federal assistance, relies on a Wayne charity, Community Living Services, to get free adult diapers. By Lauren Abdel-Razzaq. The Detroit News.

AP Photos pursuing

Eds: An AP Member Exchange. Moved Thursday.

Also noteworthy for the weekend is a package of stories that moved in advance for use starting Sunday.

The nation’s largest blackout, partly set off a decade ago by trees touching high-voltage power lines, cascaded from northeast Ohio to seven other states and Canada and turned off the lights for some 50 million people on Aug. 14, 2003. It immobilized much of New York City, cut Cleveland-area residents’ drinking water and air conditioning on a summer day, shut down more than 100 power plants and stranded riders on roller coasters and elevators. Its immediate effect was discomfort and frustration for residents and for utilities and regional power grid operators that hadn’t realized what was happening and had to sort out the causes and fix them. In time, it prompted mandatory standards and changes aimed at keeping the massive electric transmission system going, even during disturbances.

The AP plans the following stories in advance of the 10-year anniversary:


The U.S. electrical grid is better managed and more flexible a decade after its largest blackout but remains vulnerable to increasingly extreme weather, cybersecurity threats and stress caused by shifts in where and how power is produced. The industry has mostly addressed the failures blamed when a tree branch in Ohio set off an outage that cascaded to 50 million people in eight states and parts of Canada on Aug. 14, 2003. But many worry the grid isn’t fully prepared for new threats. By Kantele Franko and Jonathan Fahey.


Sending in advance Wednesday for use Sunday, Aug. 11 and thereafter.


— BLACKOUT ANNIVERSARY-GLANCE — The U.S. electrical grid is a complex system of power plants, transmission lines and local distribution networks that deliver power to homes and businesses. A summary of how power flows on the system, who oversees it and what went wrong in the August 2003 blackout.

A video package looking at what improvements have been made to prevent another 2003 blackout is planned for Monday Aug. 12.


WALTON HILLS, Ohio — An aggressive, national tree-trimming campaign since the blackout of 2003 appears to have had the intended effect. But the applause over the power-industry equivalent of a buzz cut isn’t rising from at least one part of the republic: tree lovers. By Thomas J. Sheeran.

AP Photos CD409-412.

For use PMs of Monday, Aug. 12, and thereafter.


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Federal regulators of America’s electric grid have imposed more than $33 million in civil penalties for reliability violations since the 2003 Northeast blackout, including for a subsequent mass power outage in Florida, through a system that took on force of law after the nation’s largest power outage. By Julie Carr Smyth.

AP Photo CD408.

For use PMs of Tuesday, Aug. 13, and thereafter.


— BLACKOUT ANNIVERSARY-RELIABILITY-GLANCE, of notable fines imposed for power outages since the blackout of 2003.

For questions about the package, contact Ohio news editor Deb Martin at 614-885-2727 or at dmartin@ap.org.

The AP, Columbus

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