Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

MADISON, WI (AP)--   Wisconsin lawmakers could soon make cheese the state's official dairy product. 

Milk has enjoyed a designation as the state's official beverage since 1987 and the dairy cow became the state's domestic animal in 1971.

Even though Wisconsin produces the most cheese in the country, the state filled with self-proclaimed "cheeseheads" hasn't honored the food with an official designation.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Republican-led Michigan Senate has voted to repeal a law that makes it a misdemeanor if gun sellers don't keep a registry of firearm purchases.

The provision is included in legislation approved 27-10 Thursday and send to the House. The bill would largely make what supporters say are technical changes to a law that eliminated gun boards for issuing concealed handgun licenses.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The state says Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in February while the number of people entering the job market continued to grow. 

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the rate rose from 5.2 percent in January and compared with a national February jobless rate of 4.7 percent. Last month's jobless rate in Michigan was three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the state's year-ago rate of 5.0 percent.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan's most recent high school graduation and dropout rates didn't change much from the year before. 

The four-year graduation rate was 79.65 percent in the 2015-16 school year, down slightly from 79.79 percent in the 2014-15 academic year. The dropout rate was 8.91 percent, down from 9.12 percent.

The data was released Wednesday by the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Governor Rick Snyder has written letters to every member of Michigan's congressional delegation to warn how House Republicans' health care legislation would "adversely impact" the state's most vulnerable residents. 

The Republican governor's letter, dated Tuesday, says the debate has largely focused on people participating in the expanded Medicaid program. But he says half of all Michigan children are served by the traditional Medicaid program, which would also be affected by the bill.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released an update on the health of the state's forests, including threats posed by insects and diseases.

Michigan's 20 million acres of forest land supports recreation, forest products and other industries while providing crucial wildlife habitat.

The report outlines efforts to control spruce budworm, a pest that periodically defoliates spruce and fir forests. It says infestations probably will increase over the next 10 years. Experts are looking for high-risk areas in state forests.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)--   The rusty patched bumblebee is officially an endangered species. 

Advocates say the bee has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Bees are crucial for pollinating crops and wild plants.

The listing was announced in January and had been scheduled to take effect Feb. 10. But the Trump administration ordered a last-minute review and postponed the listing until Tuesday. Some environmentalists had feared the designation could be canceled.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan officials are taking applications from owners of forest land who would like to enroll their property in a program that shields it permanently from development. 

Michigan's Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to protect environmentally important woodlands in certain areas.

That could mean buying the property and converting it to public ownership. Other arrangements involve leaving the land in private hands and paying the owner to make sure it stays protected.

DEARBORN, MI (AP)--   Americans from the Middle East and North Africa may soon be counted in the U.S. census as distinct members of their country, not as "white" or "some other race." 

But some are wary of singling themselves out a time when President Donald Trump is seeking to ban travel to the U.S. from some majority-Muslim countries.

The Census Bureau has recommended adding a Middle East-North Africa category, saying it would produce a more accurate count. Some worry that could lead to discrimination.

DEARBORN, MI (AP)--   AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 1 cent per gallon in the past week. 

The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.36 per gallon. That's about 33 cents more than it was at the same point last year.

AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.35 per gallon in the Detroit area. The highest average was about $2.38 in the Lansing area.

AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state. 

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