Booking photo of stabbing suspect Elias Abuelazam
Arlington, Virginia Police Department

(by Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio)

A judge has ordered the man suspected in a series of stabbings in the Flint area to be held without bond.  

Elias Abuelazam, an Israeli citizen, was arraigned today and spoke briefly during the court hearing.

Abuelazam is suspected in at least 18 attacks in three states in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia. Five victims died in Flint.

Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton says he will seek the harshest penalty possible against Abuelazam.

Freighter on the Detroit River with GM headquarters in background
James Marvin Phelps

(by Rina Miller, Michigan Radio)

Native Americans and Native Canadians will demonstrate their treaty right to cross the Canadian and U.S. borders. A flotilla of canoes will cross the busy shipping channel from Belle Isle to Windsor this Friday. The event will highlight a 200-year-old free-travel treaty.

Helen Wolf, with the American Indian Movement of Michigan, says the Jay Treaty of 1796 is the only treaty with natives that's never been broken, "it allows Native Americans to freely pass and repass without any undue hindrance, duties, tolls, fees or customs questions."

(Kathy Barks Hoffman - AP)

Governor Granholm named Appeals Court Judge Alton Thomas Davis to the Michigan Supreme Court. The move comes the same day that Justice Elizabeth Weaver resigned.

Michigan House Republicans

Rick Snyder speaks like a corporate CEO talking up some newly discovered talent when he talks about Brian Calley. Snyder says Calley is young, but he's fine with it, "I think 33's a great age. He's had good private business experience. He's been a successful community banker, so great private sector experience and good legislative experience, and the other part of this is you shouldn't look at just age. This is how we build for the future is we get great young people involved in the process, and so we need more and more great young people like Brian."

Calley worked as a commercial banker in mid-Michigan before he was elected to the state House in 2006. He built a reputation as an expert on tax policy, and as someone who could easily work with Republicans and Democrats.

EPA workers sample the air near the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

(by Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio)

It's been a month since a pipeline leak spewed about a million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. Clean-up crews have spent the past four weeks collecting oil from the river and removing contaminated soil.

You can see photos of the oil spill on the EPA's Enbridge oil spill response website.

A home being built in Norfolk, VA
Ryan Steinhour / U.S. Navy

(by Rina Miller, Michigan Radio)

Michigan actually fared better in new home sales than other parts of the nation.  Some economists say improvements in the auto industry are helping stabilize Michigan's economy.

justiceweaver.com

Michigan Supreme Court  Justice Elizabeth "Betty" Weaver is resigning. Weaver is a Republican, but she was expected to run for re-election this November as an independent. Justice Weaver openly feuded with some of her Republican colleagues on the court.

Governor Granholm will appoint her replacement, a move that is expected to put the Republican majority on the court in jeopardy.

justiceweaver.com

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth "Betty" Weaver is resigning. Weaver is a Republican, but she was expected to run for re-election this November as an independent. Justice Weaver openly feuded with some of her Republic colleagues on the court.

 

News Roundup: August 26th

Aug 26, 2010
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Michigan's New Home Sales Better Than Nation's

Lester Graham

The way we pay for schools changed a lot back in 1994 when voters passed Proposal A. Before Proposal A, much of the support for the schools came from local property taxes. But voters passed increase after increase and in some districts property taxes got so high that people, especially senior citizens, couldn't afford to live in their homes. Michigan had some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

Lester Graham

School districts across the state have been cutting staff and freezing teacher pay to get through budget cuts made by the state.

Iris Salters is President of the Michigan Education Association, a labor union. She says teachers and other school officials are dealing with the cuts, but it's getting to the point where it's affecting the education your kids are getting.

Lester Graham

Michigan legislators hear from educators all the time about money for schools. But legislators, for the most part, are not hearing from parents and other taxpayers.

Tom White is with the SOS (Save Our Students Schools and State), a coaltion of education managers, the P-T-A and others. He says until the public really pressures lawmakers with protests, phone calls and petitions (what the legislators refer to as blood in the streets'), not much is going to be done about more money for schools.

Lester Graham

Getting your budget cut is no fun, and that's exactly what's happened to schools in Michigan. Generally speaking, educators know why that's happened. Michigan's economy tanked and that's affected the tax dollars coming in for schools.

Steve Carmody

You can hardly find a bar in Michigan that doesn't feature video screens offering you a chance to get rich and help Michigan schools. The lottery has done such a good marketing job of telling players they're helping Michigan schools that people have an inflated idea of how much the lottery money helps.

David Martell is the Executive Director of Michigan School Business Officials. He says it's true the Lottery does help.

Lester Graham

Michigan's schools are required by law to have a budget by June 30th. The legislature doesn't have to complete its budget until September 30th. So for the schools, it's hard to figure out a budget when you don't know how much money you're going to get from the state.

"I mean, that's crazy," said Tom White, Chair of a group called SOS (Save Our Students Schools and State), "We don't know until it's so late in our budgeting year, because every year the legislature appropriates funds, but they don't get around to it in a timely fashion.

Jennifer Guerra

Like a lot of Michigan cities, Jackson is hurting. The economy is in the tank, the unemployment rate is high, and stores continue to close, including the few places in town where teenagers could go hear live music. That has left those who live there with not much to do on a Friday night.

Tori Zackery

Kids can learn a lot about a place through books, television, and the web. But one Kalamazoo woman thinks you can't really know a place or its people, unless you go and visit, which is why she started a travel club.

About twenty girls and several adults board an Amtrak train in Kalamazoo. "We're going on a mystery train ride with the travel club," exclaims travel club member Claire Khabeiry. Like a lot of kids in the group she's never been on train before.

Marcus Belgrave's Sounds of Detroit

Jun 11, 2010
Courtesy of Marcus Belgrave

Ann Arbor, MI Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye. Those are some of the big names of Detroit music. But another name worthy of top billing is trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. He's been a fixture in the Detroit scene for decades, and has covered everything from avant-garde to jazz standards. He even played on some of Motown's greatest hits.

Belgrave was recently honored by the Kresge Foundation as their Detroit Eminent Artist of the year. We sat down with the jazz trumpeter to talk about his life in music.

"This is Marcus Belgrave, eminent artist award for the year. I'm very excited about this award because it chronicles my life in Detroit for the last 40 years.

A Kalamazoo arts organization that was considered a real success story has shut its doors, for now. Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris looks at why The Smart Shop Metal Arts Center has closed and what the future may hold.

J Dilla's beat goes on

Jun 1, 2010
Paul Farber

J Dilla was one of Detroit's most prolific and respected hip hop producers. He died in 2006, but his music still inspires his fans around the world. And now his Mom is using his name to support music education in his hometown.

A state panel has named an emergency financial manager to run the city of Benton Harbor. Governor Granholm declared a financial emergency in Benton Harbor in February.

State officials say Benton Harbor's financial troubles include a deficit that has been growing by double digits. The city asked for an emergency infusion of cash from the state last month to make its payroll.

A state board named former Detroit auditor general and chief financial officer Joseph Harris to run the city, with the power to control all spending and renegotiate union contracts.

Terry Stanton is a spokesman for the state Treasury. He says drastic action is needed at times to set a city's finances right.

"The state is only as financially strong as the units within the state and, unfortunately, sometimes it's a long ways down the road before the state can step in," says Stanton.

Benton Harbor is the third city in Michigan being run by an emergency manager. The others are Pontiac and Ecorse.

Erika Celeste / Environment Report

This documentary is an in-depth look at the future of coal in this country.

The Environment Report explores the role that coal plays in our lives and in the lives of those who depend on coal mining for a living.

Can coal truly be a viable option in the new green economy?

Listen to the Documentary:

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Developers in Benton Harbor hope a new resort and Jack Nicklaus signature golf course will improve the economically depressed city. But plans call for three of the golf holes to be built inside Jean Klock Park, next to Lake Michigan beachfront. Activists hoping to save the park have sued in federal court, but construction at the park is underway. Officials with Harbor Shores Redevelopment say they are not building the golf course holes, but instead are working on park improvements as part of a lease agreement with the city.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has approved developers plans to build part of a golf course over a Benton Harbor beachfront park.

Developers want to build a golf course resort along Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor. The plan calls for three of holes to be inside Jean Klock Park.

Residents opposed to the golf course say the development is illegal and will destroy the sand dunes. But they didn't get a chance to make their case because the D-N-R approved the plan without discussion or a public meeting.

Five years ago riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan drew national attention to racial issues and poverty there.

Today an arm of the Whirlpool Corporation wants to build a golf resort in the struggling city.

The location has some city residents less than pleased.

Benton Harbor is the poorest city in Michigan.

Unemployment is officially at 17% and the median household income is in the teens.

Vacant lots and boarded up buildings litter the downtown. But there is natural beauty in Benton Harbor.

Jean Klock Park

Apr 21, 2008

The city of Benton Harbor is deeply divided over the future of Jean Klock Park. And like many things in America, this is, not far below the surface, a story about race and class, and history.

Yet there is also an element of Victorian romance here. My guess is that most of the people fighting over the issue don’t know much about the man behind it.

John Nellis Klock lived a classic Horatio Alger story. He was born in upstate New York the year the Civil War ended, into a family so poor he had to go to work full-time as a typesetter at age eleven.

Dozens of people testified in Benton Harbor last night (TH) at a packed city hearing on the future of the nearly 100-year old Jean Klock Park.

Benton Harbor is the poorest city in Michigan. Poverty and racial unrest led to two nights of rioting here in 2003, and vacant lots and boarded up buildings litter the downtown of this former industrial city.

But there is some beauty in Benton Harbor. On the west side of town, out by the Whirlpool National Headquarters, is an undeveloped half mile of Lake Michigan beachfront surrounded by high dunes.

The 1967 Detroit riot was five days of chaos, sparked by a small incident, but driven by a deeper unrest among black Detroiters, mistreated for years by the city's whites. Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer produced an account of what happened those five days from three people who lived it first-hand.

In the summer of 1967 chaos broke out in the streets of Detroit. After five days of violence 43 were dead, thousands were injured and over 4000 people had been arrested.

This summer – forty years later – Michigan Radio takes an in-depth look at the deadliest riot of the 1960's. Why did the riots begin? What fueled them? And, have we ever really recovered?

Our documentary, "Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots" explores how the riots affected people, neighborhoods and even music. It explores questions such as: Whether it was truly a riot? Or, a rebellion? Is the "white-flight" that we see today in Detroit a consequence of the riots? Did the riots cripple the relationship between the state of Michigan and Detroit?

We also hear from Michigan Radio reporters as well as first-hand accounts of what it was like to be in Detroit during the riot.

Listen to the Documentary here:

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