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Politics
1:01 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Stabenow hopes US Senate will move the President's Jobs Bill forward

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaks duing a news conference at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, MI
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says she doesn’t know if the president’s jobs bill will clear its first legislative hurdle later today.    That’s when the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote on the $447 billion ‘American Jobs Act’.   

Stabenow, a Democrat, says she’d like to see the legislation move forward.  

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Environment
12:08 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Beekeepers still struggling with colony collapse disorder

Some of Ted Elk’s hives are buzzing with bees and honey.
Photo by Julie Grant

By Julie Grant for The Environment Report

Michigan beekeepers are continuing to lose huge numbers of bees. They join beekeepers from around the country – and the world – who have been dealing with what’s called Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s been around for five years now. Julie Grant visited with some beekeepers, and reports that scientists and the government don’t agree on what should be done to help them.  Here's her story:

Ted Elk is checking out some of his hives. They’re on the backside of a corn field, tucked away in the brush. The colorful boxes are stacked on top of each other.

Some hives are buzzing with activity. He pulls out a comb and scrapes the side:

“And that is all goldenrod honey. See how yellow that is?”

I want to eat it. It’s almost irresistible. But not all the hives look this good.

“Here’s one that’s not gonna make it through winter. It’s light, there’s no bees, there’s no weight to it.”

There’s honey on the comb. But almost no bees.

Elk suspects this hive has colony collapse disorder. There aren’t dead bees around. They’re just gone.

Elk has seen this before. Last winter, he lost 250 hives – and thousands of dollars. When Elk first started keeping bees, he might lose five or six percent in the winter. But nationwide, a 30 percent winter bee loss is average nowadays.

Researchers still aren’t sure exactly what’s causing Colony Collapse Disorder. But they do know there’s a lot of stress on bees. Beekeepers take their hives all over the country – to Florida to pollinate oranges, to California for almonds, to New York for apples, and elsewhere. The beekeepers take the bees honey, and often feed them cheap high fructose corn syrup, or nothing at all. Plus, they can have mites and bacteria. And there are 28 viruses that can affect bees.

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Auto/Economy
10:16 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Gov. Snyder wants to attract immigrants ready to start businesses

Governor Rick Snyder tells the 'World Affairs Council of Western Michigan' he wants immigrants with talent and money who are willing to invest in the United States to come to Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to attract more foreign entrepreneurs to the state. Snyder told a gathering of “The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan” he’d would like to leverage a federal immigration program to attract new jobs and investments.

The EB-5 immigration program

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Politics
6:26 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Levin: Unwillingness to compromise threatens U.S. political system

Carl Levin

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says the U-S Congress is facing fundamental questions about whether it can continue to function.

Levin spoke at the Detroit Economic Club Monday.

Levin spoke in spoke in personal terms about “the dilemma that I and other members of Congress face.”

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Politics
5:24 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Vice President Joe Biden coming to Michigan on Wednesday

Vice President Joe Biden
(Official portrait)

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Flint and Grand Rapids on Wednesday.   He’ll promote the Obama administration’s efforts to spur jobs growth.  

 The Vice President is scheduled to make two public stops on Wednesday.   Biden’s first stop will be in Flint, where he’ll talk about how the President’s jobs plan would spend $5  billion to hire and retain firefighters and police officers.   Flint’s police and fire departments have seen deep cuts as the city has struggled with a rising budget deficit.  

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Politics
5:04 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Lawmakers take another stab at funeral protest law

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

About a month after a federal judge struck down a Michigan law banning protests at funerals, state lawmakers are taking another go at the issue.

 “We need this protection," said state Representative Bruce Rendon. "And yet everybody does have the freedom of speech in this country and that’s one of the greatest things about America – is we all have the right to express ourselves. But now we’ve defined what we can do within that.”

Legislation before a state Senate panel would specify what protest behaviors would be unlawful. Its aim is to keep protestors from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting funerals in the state. The group has taken its anti-gay protests to military funerals nationwide.    

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support survivors domestic violence
5:01 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Safe at Home (Part 1): Support for survivors of domestic violence

October is domestic violence awareness month. At Michigan Radio, we are taking a look at how domestic violence impacts our communities.

We are also looking at the support and intervention programs in place to assist those impacted by domestic violence.

Safe House Center is one such support organization. It provides assistance to those affected by domestic violence or sexual assault.

Jenn White, host of Michigan Radio’s All Things Considered, talks with Barbara Niess, director of Safe House Center in Ann Arbor.

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Auto/Economy
4:59 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Chrysler and UAW to resume talks Tuesday morning

Contract talks between the United Auto Workers union and Chrysler resume Tuesday morning.  That’s after after negotiators were unable to reach a deal over the weekend. 

The UAW has asked its local presidents to come to Detroit on Wednesday.  That could mean an agreement is imminent. 

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Arts/Culture
4:43 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Mobile video booth lets anyone be an arts critic

Art studio
Dani Davis

A new form of “grass roots” arts journalism could soon be in store for Detroit.

Jennifer Conlin lives in Michigan and is one of the finalists in the Community Arts Journalism Challenge, a national competition to get more people engaged with the arts.

Her idea is called iCritic Detroit, and it would allow arts patrons to record their own reviews of an exhibit or event by hopping into a mobile video booth.

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Politics
3:37 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Legislation would block local protections for gays, lesbians

Republican state Representative Tom McMillin has proposed a law that would forbid civil rights protections that are more expansive than Michigan’s civil rights law.

The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.

Critics say the measure appears to violate the rights of local governments to conduct their own affairs. 

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Politics
12:47 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Vice President Biden to visit Flint on Wednesday

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Flint, Michigan on Wednesday
Barack Obama Photostream Flickr

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Flint on Wednesday. Biden will use the trip to promote President Obama's jobs plan, the Associated Press reports. From the AP:

Biden is scheduled to speak midday Wednesday at a fire department building in downtown Flint. The Obama administration says its American Jobs Act would pump $5 billion into supporting jobs for police and firefighters. Flint has laid off over 100 of its first responders over the past three years to deal with budget cuts. The city's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in August was 11.4 percent, higher than the state rate of 11.2 percent.

Late last month, Governor Snyder appointed an eight member panel to review the city's finances. "The financial review is the first step in a process created under the state's emergency manager law. Governor Snyder has said he hopes an emergency manager is not needed in Flint," Mark Brush reports. The Governor asked the review team to report their findings within 30 days which means we should find out what they have to say by late October.

Auto/Economy
11:43 am
Mon October 10, 2011

UAW and Chrysler temporarily halt contract talks

Top officials with the United Auto Workers are briefing local union leaders on contract talks with Chrysler today, after negotiators were unable to come to an agreement over the weekend.

A statement from Chrysler says talks ended this morning so the UAW could meet with its National Council.

Chrysler is the last of the Detroit Three to reach a tentative contract with the UAW.  General Motors workers last week ratified a new four-year contract by a margin of two-to-one.

Ford workers are voting this week on a new contract.

Both the contract at Ford and General Motors provide for a pay increase for the company's entry-level workers.

But Chrysler has many more of the entry-level workers than Ford and GM.  Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has called the pay increase at Ford and GM "overly generous."

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Arts/Culture
11:02 am
Mon October 10, 2011

DIA photo exhibit puts Detroit in spotlight

Southeast from Roof, Michigan Central, Scott Hocking, 2008 (printed in 2009), pigment print. © Scott Hocking, 2011. Detroit Institute of Arts

A new exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts looks at life in the Motor City over the past decade. 

The exhibit - Detroit Revealed - includes videos and photographs of city residents and community gardens. It also includes images of the city’s decline: abandoned buildings and empty, overgrown lots - what some call “ruin porn."

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Commentary
11:01 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Gary Peters, Gearing Up

When Gary Peters runs for Congress next year, there’s one vote he has no chance of getting.

His own. Thanks to redistricting, he lives just barely outside the district he plans to run in. Over coffee yesterday, he told me that his daughter will be a high school senior, and out of consideration for her, the family plans not to move until after she graduates.

There’s nothing illegal about that. Congressmen don’t have to live in their districts. But it highlights the general insanity of the redistricting process. Peters, who has served two terms in the House of Representatives, will be one of two candidates for Michigan’s biggest, toughest and most exciting race for Congress next year.

But that race won’t happen next November. Nor will Peters be facing a Republican. This battle will be fought out next summer, and settled by the August primary. There, the two youngest and most vibrant members of the Democratic delegation will be forced to try to end each other’s career.

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News Roundup
8:51 am
Mon October 10, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Monday, October 10th, 2011
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Chrysler/UAW Talks Continue

Talks continue between negotiators for the UAW and Chrysler but no deal on a new contract has been announced. From the Associated Press:

Union leaders from all of Chrysler's factories are headed to the Detroit suburb of Warren for a meeting on the talks. Normally they don't meet until an agreement is ready. Both sides talked into the night Sunday. The union says in Internet postings that bargaining resumed around 4:30 a.m. Work has continued at Chrysler under a contract extension that expires Oct. 19. Chrysler's 23,000 workers cannot strike over wages under terms of the company's government bailout. Disagreements can be taken to binding arbitration.

Michigan Radio reporters are in Detroit monitoring the situation.

Bridge Vote

The state Senate is scheduled to vote on bills having to do with a new bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor this week. A state Senate committee will hold hearings tomorrow and Wednesday and vote on the legislation after  the hearings conclude, the Detroit News reports. Governor Snyder’s administration has been pushing for a new span across the Detroit River since January, when the Governor signaled his support for the new bridge during his first State of the State address.

Challenge to Redistricting Maps

A coalition of African-American and civil rights groups is expected to challenge Michigan’s new congressional and legislative district maps approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature, Rick Pluta reports. From Pluta:

State Representative Fred Durhal chairs the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. He says the new maps violate voting rights laws. He says that’s because they diminish the voting power of urban minority voters – and the evidence of that is how many Democratic incumbents from minority districts will be forced next year to run against each other. Republican leaders say a court challenge to any redistricting plan is normal, and was entirely expected. GOP leaders say the maps reflect population shifts, and that they were very careful to comply with the law.

Politics
8:31 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Michigan Senate scheduled to vote on new bridge bills this week

The state Senate is planning a vote on Wednesday on a new bridge from Detroit to Windsor, the Detroit News reports. From the News:

The Senate Economic Development Committee, which is considering legislation to create a public authority to take bids on the bridge, will hold hearings Tuesday and Wednesday and vote on the two bridge bills at the end of Wednesday's session, according to a schedule released Friday.

Governor Snyder’s administration has been pushing for a new span across the Detroit River since January, when the Governor signaled his support for the new bridge during his first State of the State address.

But, as the Detroit News notes, it’s unclear whether the Legislature will pass the bills, “in fact, it wasn't clear Friday if there were enough votes to get the bills out of committee, which has five Republicans and two Democrats… Republicans have generally opposed the public bridge, while Democrats have supported it.”

The News explains:

Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun is opposed to the project, which he sees as unfair government encroachment on his private business. He has spent millions on TV ads and lobbying against the public bridge.  The Michigan Chamber of Commerce recently joined most other business and labor groups in supporting the project.

Snyder has said the bridge will be publicly owned, but privately financed, built and managed. The legislation says the bridge is to be built at no cost and no risk to taxpayers. Opponents say they are skeptical of that promise.

Canada has offered to front $550 million to pay Michigan's share of the project costs and would recover the money from bridge tolls. The bridge is estimated to cost just less than $1 billion. The total project — including plazas and connecting roadways on both sides of the river — is estimated to cost about $3.6 billion.

Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry has been writing extensively over the years about the bridge controversy:

What's Working
6:41 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Creating opportunities for girls to attend college

Every Monday in our What’s Working series, we talk to people and organizations across the state that are changing lives for the better. This week, we speak with Sue Schooner.

Schooner never liked kids, but she started volunteering with a girls group in Ann Arbor a few years back, and the young women found a way into her life... and they never left. 

So, Schooner quit her job as an auto executive, and is now the executive director for “Girls Group,” a program that mentors and supports high school girls, giving them the opportunities they need to attend college.

“I think part of why the program is so successful is that we provide wraparound programming. So we have discussion groups every single Friday about parent communication, anger management, we have a very intensive college prep program which is basically available seven days a week,” Schooner says.

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Arts/Culture
6:30 am
Mon October 10, 2011

A visit to today's Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor (with slideshow)

Mercedes Mejia

The City of Benton Harbor says the beach season at Jean Klock Park was a success this year.

But some residents are upset that 22 acres of park land is now used by Harbor Shores Golf Course (see slideshow above to get a sense of how it looks).

The City of Benton Harbor says the golf course has created jobs and provides revenue for the city, but some people argue it’s not enough.

Julie Wiess is with Protect Jean Klock Park.

 “It’s gone through with very little scrutiny actually, of the numbers that have been presented as far as job creation, as far as the amount of development or revenue that will be generated from this development and it’s all pie in the sky and no one has really taken a sharp pencil and figured whether this is realistic," said Wiess.

Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., a group of Benton Harbor residents will argue in federal appeals court that the golf course developers should not have been given permits they received to build on park land.

Harbor Shores Development is already operating the championship golf course; the opponents say the environmental permits allowing the development were not fair.

Politics
6:28 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Black lawmakers in Michigan to ask federal court to throw out new district maps

A coalition of African-American and civil rights groups is expected to challenge Michigan’s new congressional and legislative district maps approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The leader of a group of African-American lawmakers say he expects the lawsuit to be filed in federal court by the end of the month.

State Representative Fred Durhal chairs the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. He says the new maps violate voting rights laws. He says that’s because they diminish the voting power of urban minority voters – and the evidence of that is how many Democratic incumbents from minority districts will be forced next year to run against each other.

“We want to see new lines drawn that are more fair than the lines that we have and that recognize and allow  all African-American and minority citizens in this state to be able to participate in the franchise.”

Republican leaders say a court challenge to any redistricting plan is normal, and was entirely expected. GOP leaders say the maps reflect population shifts, and that they were very careful to comply with the law.

A lawsuit is the only way to challenge the new political map. A technicality in the law makes it immune to a voter referendum.

Science/Medicine
5:00 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Creative problem solving: Henry Ford Health System looks to students for innovation

henryford.com

The next great medical invention might not come from a scientist or a doctor, but from a design student.

The Henry Ford Health System Innovation Institute is working with students from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and with Wayne State University engineering students.

Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, Henry Ford’s chairman of surgery, says students often see things in ways people who work in the medical profession don’t.

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