The National Weather Service maintains a FROST ADVISORY for Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties until 8 AM.  As of this writing, early morning temperatures are already in the upper 30s and will likely fall a few more degrees before sunrise.  That would be plenty cold to foster the development of frost.  Hopefully you had a chance to protect your flowers, plants, and any young crops.  

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Dollars and Sense 3-5-13

Updated: Tuesday, March 5 2013, 08:36 PM EST
Dollars and Sense 3-5-13 story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new report says that home prices jumped in January.

Josh Roe has that story and more in tonight's Dollars and Sense.
Dollars and Sense 3-5-13
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Last Update on June 02, 2015 07:29 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department releases factory orders for April this morning. In March, orders to U.S. factories broke seven months of declines and rose by 2.1 percent. Meanwhile orders in a key category that tracks business investment plans eked out a 0.1 percent rise that month, marking the first advance in the category since last August.

Also today, U.S. automakers will release vehicle sales for May. In April, U.S. auto sales gained 4.6 percent, with several automakers reporting their best sales ever for the month. The strong sales were powered by trucks and SUVs. High demand for the vehicles was due, in part, to low gas prices.


Many health insurers go big with initial 2016 rate requests

Dozens of health insurers want price hikes well beyond 10 percent for their individual coverage next year, as some juggle higher-than-expected costs and rising prescription drug expenses.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is seeking a roughly 26 percent premium increase, while plans in Illinois and Florida, among other states, are asking for hikes of 20 percent or more, according to preliminary rate information released Monday on the federal government's website.

Those requests don't guarantee that customers will be stuck with bigger bills. Regulators in many states have the power to reject rates.

Experts also say the increases detailed Monday don't reflect overall rates in the broader market. Insurers seeking premium hikes of 10 percent or more are required to justify them under the health care overhaul.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top executive says Takata Corp. plans to replace the chemical in its air bags that has been linked to a defect responsible for at least six deaths.

Kevin Kennedy, executive vice president of North America for Takata Corp., also is telling Congress the company "deeply" regrets every rupture episode involving its air bags, especially those causing injury or death. Kennedy says in written testimony for a U.S. House hearing today that the percentage of air bag inflators likely to have a problem is "extremely small" but Takata is replacing all of them.

The company has declared 33.8 million air bags defective in an agreement with U.S. regulators.

The chemical, ammonium nitrate, can burn too fast if subjected to prolonged exposure to airborne moisture.


DETROIT (AP) -- Ford is recalling 1 million Mustang and GT sports cars because their driver's side air bags could potentially explode.

The air bags made by Takata Corp. can inflate with too much force, spewing shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Ford recalled nearly 500,000 Mustangs and GTs for the problem in December. But facing government pressure, Takata agreed last week to expand the number of air bag inflators that need to be recalled to 33.8 million in the U.S.

As a result, Ford expanded its recall to include additional model years. Mustangs from the 2005 to 2014 model years are now included in the recall, as well as GTs from the 2005 and 2006 model years.

Ford will begin notifying owners next month. The company will replace the air bags for free.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The California Senate has approved a plan to again raise California's minimum wage, lifting it to $13 an hour in 2017, then tied to the rate of inflation after that.

Senators on Monday approved the bill, SB3 by Sen. Mark Leno, on a 23-15 vote, with Republican lawmakers opposed.

The proposal by the San Francisco Democrat comes just two years after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation giving California one of the highest minimum wage rates in the nation. It is currently $9 an hour and will rise to $10 an hour in 2016.

Leno says that rate does not reflect the cost of living in California. He says his plan would bring workers to the federal poverty level while stimulating the economy.

The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled Leno's bill as a "job killer."


NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart is raising starting wages for more than 100,000 U.S. department managers and workers in its deli and other specialized departments.

The moves mark the next wave of wage hikes by the nation's largest private employer, which has been under pressure from labor-backed groups for the treatment of its workers. In February, it announced it was increasing minimum wages for entry-level and long-term hourly employees to at least $10 by next February. That increase affected 500,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. workers.

The wage hikes are part of a $1 billion program that also includes improving training and offering employees more control of their schedules. Wal-Mart is hoping that by investing in its workers, its customer service will improve, and ultimately that will encourage shoppers to spend more.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Last week's heist of 500 feet of copper cable stripped from open-air rail tracks in New York City was particularly brazen. But it was only the latest example of a troubling trend on the nation's railways linked to the soaring price of copper.

Chief Joseph Fox calls it a "money-making crime." He's the commander of the NYPD's Transit Bureau, and has created a special investigative unit with undercover officers who conduct sting operations at salvage yards.

With copper at $3 a pound on the scrap market, thefts are becoming increasingly common. Copper also has been stolen from rail systems in California and Washington state.

The theft in the Howard Beach section of Queens shut down parts of the subway's biggest lines and snarled the commute for 100,000 people.


MONTREAL (AP) -- A judge has awarded more than $15 billion Canadian (US$12 billion) to Quebec smokers in a case that pitted them against three giant tobacco companies. The case is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada.

Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan's decision became public late Monday.

The judgment calls on the companies to issue initial compensation of more than $1 billion Canadian (US$800 million) in the next 60 days, regardless of whether they elect to appeal. JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges said they'll appeal.

The Quebec case marked the first time tobacco companies had gone to trial in a civil lawsuit in Canada and involved two separate groups of plaintiffs: some of whome became seriously ill from smoking and others who said they couldn't quit.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A woman at the center of a high-profile gender bias lawsuit against an elite Silicon Valley venture capital firm is appealing a jury verdict against her.

Alan Exelrod, an attorney for plaintiff Ellen Pao, filed a 2-page notice of appeal on Monday in San Francisco Superior Court.

A jury in March found that defendant Kleiner Perkins did not discriminate or retaliate against Pao.

Pao's attorneys claimed she was subjected to a number of indignities, including being given a book of erotic poetry by a partner at the company and being cut out of emails and meetings by a male colleague with whom she broke off an affair.

The case became a flashpoint in an ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms.

Washington Times