Most talked about Detroit News stories

Lions sloppy but survive; Packers game will decide division — The Lions are in the playoffs but can clinch the NFC North division title today with a win over the Bears and a Packers loss to the Buccaneers. Follow all of the action from today's game in Chicago with regular updates by Geoff Robinson of The Detroit News.

Michigan, a comeback state for clean energy — When it comes to energy, Michigan has a tremendous opportunity to truly live up to Gov. Rick Snyder's charge to become a comeback state. We are well-positioned to reduce our reliance on outdated technology such as dirty coal plants and invest in renewable energy like wind and solar.

Santa impersonator arrested in shooting of 2 men — Detroit - Santa Claus is coming to court. A 26-year-old man dressed in a Santa suit was arrested early Sunday and faces charges after he allegedly shot two men outside a downtown Detroit gas station. "Apparently, there was an argument over Santa's girlfriend - Mrs.

Keep up with Detroit warrants — Dozens of suspected violent criminals arrested by Detroit Police over the past four years have been left alone to live freely because of a backlog of unsigned warrants at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for suspects not in custody. This oversight is the result of staffing reductions and budget cuts going back several years, according to Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Will Mitt run for president? — Jeb Bush's early jump into the hunt for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination isn't likely to jog loose a decision from Mitt Romney. The failed 2012 GOP standard bearer is being courted by many of his old backers to get into a race that has failed to define a clear favorite.

Charboneau: Lack of fire burns Michigan State — East Lansing - There was plenty for Michigan State to be unhappy with on Saturday night. The 25th-ranked Spartans had just lost at home to Texas Southern, a team that came into the game with one victory and lopsided losses to Gonzaga, Florida, Baylor and Indiana. It wasn't pretty.

Mich. tax hike for roads requires risky statewide vote — Lansing - Gov. Rick Snyder and other advocates for increased transportation funding are betting that Michigan voters are fed up enough with inferior roads that they won't blink at a $1.7 billion tax hike whose centerpiece is a 1-percentage point sales tax increase.

Lions in playoffs for first time in three years — For the first time since 2011, the Lions will be in the NFC playoffs. With Washington's 27-24 upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, the Lions clinched a postseason berth before even playing their Week 16 game against the Chicago Bears.

Tigers plan to reinforce bullpen from within — Detroit - Dave Dombrowski was trying to make a point about the up-and-down nature of bullpens in Major League baseball. "How many of the 10 clubs that got to the postseason last year had the same closer the entire season?" he asked. The Royals, Tigers, Cardinals and Dodgers, that's it.
Dec 21, 2014

Colleague @cmccosky breaks down #Tigers internal options for fixing bullpen. It's a roll of the dice, but could work.…

Dec 21, 2014

RT @cmccosky: Tigers banking on talented, unproven arms to bolster bullpen via @detroitnews

Dec 21, 2014

Tigers banking on talented, unproven arms to bolster bullpen via @detroitnews

Dec 20, 2014

Tigers plan to bolster pen with talented but unproven arms

Beard: UM lacks hot hand to shoot way out of funk — Ann Arbor - Caris LeVert is treading into uncharted waters. In his three years at Michigan, he hasn't experienced a three-game losing streak. Now, the Wolverines are in the midst of a four-game skid, following Saturday's 62-51 loss to Southern Methodist at Crisler Center.

SMU coach Larry Brown triumphant in return to Michigan — Ann Arbor - It wasn't quite a return to coach the Pistons, but Larry Brown was back in Michigan, coaching Southern Methodist against Michigan. Brown, in his third season with the Mustangs, emerged with a 62-51 win on Saturday in what Brown called a "huge step" for his emerging program.

Michigan Lottery sales reach record $2.6B — Lansing - Michigan Lottery ticket sales have reached a record $2.6 billion in the 2014 budget year. The lottery said Thursday that 2014 is the 10th straight year of sales over $2 billion. Sales reached about $2.48 billion in 2013. The lottery says higher sales were due primarily to an increase in instant games this year.

Tax hike would trigger spending other than for roads — Lansing - The centerpiece of the Legislature's effort to raise $1.2 billion in new funds for roads is a 1 percentage point increase in the 6 percent sales tax. If voters OK raising the sales tax to 7 percent on the May 5 ballot, it will trigger other spending and policy initiatives.

Video: Michigan contestant finishes late but get $1,000 — Ann Arbor - At halftime of Saturday's Michigan-SMU matchup at Crisler Center, Mike Miller was a long shot in a contest to make four shots in half a minute. With a prize of $10,000 for making a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot in 30 seconds, Miller completed the feat.
Dec 20, 2014

UPDATE: #Michigan student on $1,000 prize: "It was definitely better than getting nothing."

Dec 20, 2014

RT @ByAZuniga: Per stopwatch, he finished in 27.6 seconds. RT @detnewsRodBeard: Halftime contestant finishes late but pockets $1K:

Santa's better half moves to center stage — Toni Patterson arrived at a day care center, clad in a red dress and white apron. She started to shake her jingle bells. "Ho! Ho! Ho! " Patterson said. "You kids know who I am? I'm Mrs. Santa! I am Santa Claus' wife and I live at the North Pole!"

Flat performance by UM leads to another loss — Ann Arbor - The streak continues for Michigan. Another lackluster effort led to another loss for the Wolverines, who are on their worst skid in four years. With a six-minute scoreless streak near the end of the second half, UM lost its fourth straight, 62-51, to Southern Methodist, Saturday afternoon at Crisler Center.

At-risk charter authorizers to retain status for now — Lansing - State Superintendent Mike Flanagan announced Friday that 11 of Michigan's 40 charter school authorizers - put on notice in August that they could lose their ability to charter additional schools - will retain their status for now.
Dec 20, 2014

11 of 40 charter school authorizers remain on state watch list & could lose ability to launch more schools #miGOV

Legislature left many issues unresolved — Lansing - The all-consuming effort to secure $1.2 billion more per year in road funding knocked off an array of contentious legislative proposals lawmakers feared would upset their delicate negotiations. As usual, time ran out on other bills as the two-year session ended early Friday morning after a marathon 20-hour session.
Dec 20, 2014

Legislature left many issues unresolved in #MiLameDuck session as road funding bills consumed most of the time…

UM prof apologizes for anti-Republican column — Ann Arbor - A University of Michigan professor expressed "regret" Thursday after writing a column that expressed hatred toward Republicans, as members of the Board of Regents criticized her sentiments. "This article is over the top," said Regent Andrew Richner, a Republican.