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Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Grand Rapids.


Two Michigan Schools Honored for Positive Environmental Impact

(LANSING, Mich.) -- The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that a pair of Michigan schools were designated Green Ribbon Schools nationally for their positive environmental impact.

Renaissance High School in Clarkston, Mich., and Lenawee Intermediate School District TECH Center in Adrian, Mich. are among the country's hardest-working schools to "reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways."

Around the country, 48 schools were given Green Ribbon recognition.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cited the honored schools' "comprehensive approach to being green" and said that they "are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs, improve health, and engage students with hands-on learning."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Michiganians React to SCOTUS Ruling

(DETROIT) -- There are mixed reactions in Michigan after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the state's ban on factoring race into college admissions on Tuesday.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette applauded the ruling.

"We need to have diversity on our campuses, our colleges and universities across the State of Michigan and across America, and we need to achieve this diverse student population by constitutional means; that's the message of this opinion," Schuette said.

Michigan law student Rachel Jankowsi says she's excited about the ruling.

"I think it's a win for equality and I think now all college applicants have the ability to apply to college without race, or sex, or anything like that being a factor," Jankowsi said.

However, critics like student Kurtis Davenport believe the ruling turns a blind eye to racial inequality in K through 12 education.

"I know plenty of people that could be here, that should be here, and they are not here because they can't afford to be here or they can't get in because of the education system that they were provided with in the beginning," Davenport said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


SCOTUS Upholds Michigan Ban on Race Conscious College Admissions

(WASHINGTON) -- A divided Supreme court upheld Michigan’s ban on race conscious admissions policies at public universities Tuesday, reversing a lower court decision that had struck down the ban on equal protection grounds.

Writing the opinion, backed by a 6-to-2 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy leaves court's prior rulings on Affirmative Action in tact, but he affirms voters can choose to end race-based preferences in college admissions.

In a scathing dissent she read from the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said opponents of Michigan's "Proposal 2" now face a "herculean task" to overturn the ban. Sotomayor added that the court's majority "ignores the stark reality...that race still matters."

Justice Elena Kagan took no part in the decision presumably because she dealt with it in her previous job as Solicitor General.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Tech Jobs Up 15% in Metro Detroit

(DETROIT) -- "Smart cars" with computers controlling everything from your radio to your parking job are the new normal in the automotive industry, and experts say that's bringing more IT sector jobs to automotive centers like Detroit.

About 30,000 new tech jobs were created in metro Detroit in 2013, up 15% from the year before.

Dave Coulter, mayor of Detroit suburb Ferndale, says the developments in the automotive industry are changing his town.

"You're going from what used to be very blue collar jobs in a lot of ways, or even some of the engineering jobs. You are talking about attracting somebody who's highly education, highly paid, usually younger and that's a different face to the automotive industry than we've seen in the past decade," Coulter said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Gov. Announces First Payment into Mich. Health Endowment Fund

(LANSING, Mich.) -- Gov. Rick Snyder announced on Thursday that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan made the first payment of $100 million in the new Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

The fund was created in 2013 and requires BCBSM to contribute up to $1.56 billion to the fund in the next 18 years.

"This marks yet another important step in our efforts to improve the health of Michigan senior citizens and youths," Snyder said.

The fund was created to benefit Michigan residents, focusing strongly on minors and seniors. The fund has priorities such as infant mortality, wellness and fitness, access to healthy food, technology enhancements, health-related transportation needs and foodborne illness prevention.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio