Vincent Duffy

News Director

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Radio since May 2007. In his years of leading the Michigan Radio news room, the news team has won scores of national, regional and state awards including Murrow Awards,  Sigma Delta Chi awards and others. 

Duffy is the past Chair of the Radio/Television/Digital News Association (RTDNA), the world's largest organization representing electronic journalists. He continues to sit on the board as an at-large director.

Duffy graduated from Kent State University (Kent, Ohio) with degrees in political science and telecommunications, and then toured the world as a radio journalist covering news in Australia, Switzerland and South Africa.

After returning stateside he earned a master's degree in mass media from Miami University of Ohio while working as a reporter at WMUB in Oxford.

Duffy then had his first taste of a Big Ten school when he joined the news team at WILL at the University of Illinois as a reporter, Morning Edition host, and eventually News Director. While at the University of Illinois he also completed his doctoral coursework in communication research.

In 1997 Duffy returned to Kent State University as news director of WKSU.

In addition to his work for WKSU and NPR in Ohio, Vince hosted the weekly television news program  NewsNight Akron on PBS 45 & 49. His first television documentary, "Sharing Democracy: The Akron/Subotica Partnership", received the prestigious Telly Award and added Serbia to the growing list of destinations Vince has traveled to cover news. Vince also produced and hosted several PBS 45 & 49 specials, political debates and documentaries.

Duffy has won seven national Edward R. Murrow awards for his radio journalism, as well as a Sigma Delta Chi award, a National Headliner award, a national Unity award, many others.

In 2008 he added Ghana to his list of countries visited when he covered a University of Michigan delegation led by U of M President Mary Sue Coleman.

Along with his obvious love of travel, Vince enjoys skiing, and martial arts. He has second degree black belts in both Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan Karate.

You can follow Vince on Twitter @vincentduffy

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder says his priorities for 2014 include making sure every child from a low-income family has access to preschool.

“We’re going to hopefully continue on the path with early childhood," Snyder said. "We still haven’t taken care of the entire waiting list based on need. There’s probably about another 13,000 on the waiting list. It would be good to get them into preschool.”

Wikipedia

The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at The Big House on the University of Michigan campus before a potentially world record-setting crowd this afternoon.

The National Hockey League is warning fans to watch out for counterfeiters trying to sell fake jerseys and other merchandise at the game.

Kelley Lynch is the attorney for NHL Enterprises. She says fans usually think they’re buying authentic NHL merchandise, only to learn later they’ve purchased counterfeit merchandise of inferior quality.

Consumers Energy

Power has been restored for most homes and businesses in Michigan after a massive ice storm hit the state last weekend. But there are still thousands who have been without power for a week now.

Last weekend’s ice storm left half a million Michiganders in the dark. Around the clock work by line crews, including help from other states, has much of the power restored for DTE and Consumers Energy customers.  

cswe.org

Social workers in Michigan are starting to wear many hats as health-care reform is implemented.

The expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of the state Health Insurance Exchange is expanding health-care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.

Robert Sheehan is the executive director of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.

He says all the changes healthcare are broadening the scope of social workers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Blood donations tend to drop at hospitals and clinics across Michigan at this time of year.

That's why officials are urging Michiganders to consider rolling up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift.

Dan Fox, with the American Red Cross, says between school vacations, snowy weather and busy schedules, the number of blood donations drop over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant.

shopsafetyproducts.ca

The Michigan Credit Union League wants to get automatic defibrillators into every credit union in the state.

Jon Looman is the CEO of Community West Credit Union.   He had a heart attack and collapsed while teaching an indoor cycling class last year.

He says he survived thanks to an AED, and plans to order one for every one of his credit union's branches.

“They save lives, plain and simple. They just save lives,” says Looman, “And even better than that, they improve the quality of life after a heart attack if you act right away with one.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Critics say proposed legislation in Congress could hurt many home buyers in Michigan and the nation.

The bills would allow exceptions to new limits on bank fees for mortgages. And it would become easier to give borrowers loans they can't afford.

Gary Kalman is with the Center for Responsible Lending.

He says the so-called "Mortgage Choice Act" would undermine what he calls a fair and balanced compromise.

Bernt Rostad / creative commons

A federal judge has stopped any lawsuits attempting to derail the Detroit bankruptcy.

Federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes says all the issues related to Detroit's bankruptcy must be decided by the federal bankruptcy court exclusively.

His ruling puts a stop to any challenges arising from state courts, including a case filed in Ingham County by lawyers representing Detroit pensioners.

The pensioners say their pensions are protected by the Michigan Constitution and cannot be cut by a bankruptcy court. That issue will now have to be decided by Judge Rhodes.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison by U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara today in federal court. She was also ordered to pay $90,000 in restitution to ING bank. 

She will also serve two years supervised release after she gets out of prison.

Her attorney Steven Fishman says Hathaway will pay the fine today.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Students at Saginaw County's Buena Vista school district may be back in the classroom soon. The state has approved the district's plan to bring itself out of debt.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has approved the release of state aid funds to the Buena Vista school district.

The district hasn't held class since May 3 because it ran out of money to pay its teachers. Last night the Buena Vista board of education approved a deficit elimination plan.

Flanagan says he is now encouraging the local school board and administration to reopen the doors as soon as possible. The state will release state aid to Buena Vista on May 20th, allowing the district to make payroll on May 24th.

The aid will put an end to any discussion of a “Plan B” that was developed earlier this week to have Buena Vista students use federal money to attend a skills camp over the summer.

The schools will be open today for those students who qualify for free meals.

Army Medicine / Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has called for a four county grand jury investigation into contaminated steroids linked to hundreds of cases of illness and 14 deaths in the state. Schuette filed the request today  with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Michigan's first school district operated by a charter school company will soon install video cameras to monitor all classrooms.

The Muskegon Heights Public School Academy board approved the policy at its meeting Monday night.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

It’s been quite a week in Michigan. Maybe you heard about it?

Our legislature introduced and passed so called “right to work” legislation in two days and Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed it within hours, dealing a harsh blow to the more than 12,000 union supporting protestors surrounding the building.

But – did you see what I did there? Did my bias jump off the page at you?

screenshot / LiveStream

We're updating this post on the legislature's effort to pass a 'right-to-work' law in Michigan.

A right-to-work law would outlaw requirements that workers pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Unions say these laws weaken their ability to bargain collectively with employers. Supporters of the law say it gives workers a choice.

Update 7:50 p.m.

I heard a political ad for radio this week that really got me angry.

OK…sure…I’m probably not alone in that.

But I wasn’t angry because I agree or disagreed with the position taken, or because the ad was misleading or an outright fabrication.

I’m used to “pants on fire” statements in political ads and even expect it. 

What bothered me about this particular ad was that it was produced to sound exactly like a news story. A news story that’s close enough to being possible that many listeners could be easily fooled.

The Republicans and Democrats have finished their national conventions, but now the party faithful have their state convention to attend.

Both major political parties are hosting state conventions in Michigan this weekend.

Republicans are meeting today and tomorrow in Grand Rapids, while the Democrats will meet in Lansing tomorrow and Sunday.

The conventions will formally nominate candidates for the Michigan Supreme Court, the State Board of Education and the governing boards for the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

I just spent about $5,000 at the two national political conventions.


No, I wasn’t out wining and dining with the heavy hitters, and despite how much my critics would love to finally be able to prove my biases, I wasn’t handing out political contributions to candidates either.


I spent the money to send Michigan Radio reporters to cover the Michigan delegation at each convention.

Last Tuesday was National Radio Day! How do I know? I saw it on Facebook, of course, which is where everyone who is younger than me seems to get all their news.


But not me. I’m still a radio guy. So I celebrated National Radio Day by working in the news room at Michigan Radio, where we also spend lots of time on Facebook.

League of Women Voters

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has approved two measures for the November ballot, and deadlocked on a third.

Voters this fall will be able to decide if Michigan should amend the Constitution to require utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2025, and whether or not the Constitution should be amended to allow home healthcare workers to unionize.

Michigan Radio

The Boy Scouts of America recently reaffirmed their ban on allowing openly gay boys to participate in Boy Scouts, and openly gay or lesbian adults from being leaders.

(Full disclosure – I was a Boy Scout for many years during my teens, but that was decades before anyone was debating this issue.)

We live in an odd world where what side of the “homosexual agenda” you are on can now be demonstrated not only by your participation in scouts, but also where you buy your chicken sandwich.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

The story about the emergency managers have been modified to clarify that the opinion is that of the Attorney General.

Emergency managers

If Michigan’s emergency manager law is rejected by voters in November, then Attorney General Bill Schuette believes the old law should take over. That law still allows the governor to name an emergency financial manager to run a city or school district.

Public Act Four of 2011 is a souped-up version of Michigan’s old local government takeover law, and the attorney general says that old law is back in effect once the referendum is officially put on the ballot.

Bill Schuette says the referendum challenges the entire law and not just the concept of emergency managers.

Part of the new law specifically repealed the older law. That clears the way for the state to appoint or re-appoint managers running seven cities and school districts. They will be operating with diminished authority. Governor Snyder will also ask the Legislature to make some adjustments to the old law.

The referendum campaign disagrees with Schuette's ruling and says the governor and the attorney general are writing their own rules to get what they want. They say the governor can expect a legal fight each time he tries to re-appoint a local government manager.

Grand Rapids may ease marijuana charges

Grand Rapids residents may only get a civil infraction instead of a criminal charge for the possession of marijuana. Enough signatures were gathered to put the measure on the November ballot. "The proposed charter change is modeled after Ann Arbor’s city charter. In Ann Arbor, fines for marijuana possession start at just $25 and are not more than $100. The proposed changes would not allow marijuana sales or overrule state or federal laws. It would only change how local police officers deal with marijuana possession within city limits. The city clerk has until mid-September to certify the signatures before the decision goes before voters," Lindsay Smith reports.

The new bio-based economy

Soybeans have been called the new "bio-based economy." "The U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow Monday at Ford headquarters in Dearborn to push for more bio-based products. Stabenow chairs the Senate Agriculture committee. Vilsack and Stabenow say strategic partnerships between farmers and industry are full of economic and environmental promise. Vilsak says there’s “unlimited capacity and opportunity” in the bio-based economy," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Vincent Duffy

Last week, a bomb threat called in from Canada shut down the tunnel that runs under the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor. The tunnel is the second busiest crossing between the United States and Canada. The busiest crossing is the Ambassador Bridge just more than a mile down river. The tunnel was closed to traffic for most of the afternoon while authorities from both countries inspected the tunnel and found no bomb.

U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep Thaddeus McCotter (R- Livonia) will run in the August primary as a write-in candidate after the state found he did not have enough signature to be on the ballot. McCotter is seeking a sixth term in Congress. His campaign delivered 2,000 signatures, but more than half of them were found to be invalid. The Michigan Attorney General's office is investigating for potential election fraud.

Update 2:36 p.m.

The Detroit News reports all but 244 of the 2,000 signatures turned in by the McCotter campaign were invalid:

A review by The Detroit News of the petition signatures found full copies of a sheet of signatures that were photocopied once and in some cases two times and mixed in with the 136-page stack of signatures. In some cases, a different petition circulator's name was signed to the duplicate copy.

The overt copying is "frankly unheard of," said Chris Thomas, Michigan's director of elections, as he thumbed through the stack of petitions. "It's amazing when you sit and look, and it starts to dwell on you what they've done."

The Michigan Information & Research Service tweeted that prospective write-in candidate, David Trott, will not run against McCotter:

David Trott says he backs Thad #McCotter, won't run b/c the "timing is not right for me or my family."

Earlier today, the Detroit News wrote about the lone Republican left on the August primary ballot for Michigan's 11th Congressional District.

60-year-old Kerry Bentivolio a veteran and a "public school teacher who raises reindeer." He said he's running because he's angry about the federal government's excessive debt.

Since he became the only clear GOP candidate on the ballot, his head has been "spinning a little bit" with all the newfound attention. "I'm just an average guy that wanted to stand up and say this is not fair and this isn't right," said Bentivolio, who calls himself a strict conservative inspired by the tea party and liberty movements. With McCotter off the ballot, "the average guy gets a voice and gets a lucky break," he said. "I'm going to take advantage."

12:32 p.m.

According to the Detroit News, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter says he thinks faulty petition signatures that will make him ineligible to qualify for an upcoming primary ballot were the result of deception by a trusted member of his staff.

From the News:

"At some point, for something like this to happen, I do feel like someone … lied to me," [McCotter] said on [WJR-AM's "The Frank Beckmann Show"]

McCotter told Beckmann it's possible someone was plotting against him, but more likely it was someone making an error while trying to help the campaign. He filed the petitions under the belief all signatures were valid.

10:30 a.m.

MPRN's Rick Pluta reports the Michigan Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s office are investigating possible election fraud related to the McCotter petitions. The Secretary of State’s office says many of the petitions submitted by the McCotter campaign appear to be photocopies.

7:52 a.m.

Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter says in a column in today's Detroit News that he will run as a write-in candidate in the August primary.

McCotter says his campaign's review of the signatures gathered to put him on the primary ballot for re-election confirms the state's finding that he did not have enough.

McCotter's campaign delivered 2,000 signatures so he could run again in the 11th district, but more than half of them were found to be invalid.

He says he will ask the Board of State Canvassers to refer the invalid signatures to the Attorney General's office for investigation.

In a press release this morning, McCotter said:

“I feel like George Bailey after Uncle Billy admitted he lost the money.  Like George Bailey, knowing my misplaced trust has negatively impacted so many people is heartrending.  Unlike George Bailey, I am not tempted to jump off a bridge.

Emily Fox

Even though summer has just begun, I recently visited three women who were sewing coats in a big, old industrial building in Detroit. Their goal is to make 800 coats for the homeless this year.

This isn’t just any winter coat. While it looks like a super warm jacket with an oversized hood, there’s a little flap at the bottom for your feet. This coat can double as a sleeping bag. And when it’s hot, it can be folded up into an over the shoulder satchel.

WBUR

In my large Irish family, our stories get better with age. It’s not that we lie about what’s happened to us, but when we get together for holidays or family events, we usually tell the same stories and they get better every time.

They start out as true of course, and the people, places and events all stay the same, but over time the funny parts get a little more funny, the dialogue a little more snappy and clever, and the reactions from onlookers a little more outrageous.

Scorpians and Centaurs / Flickr

Being married to someone in the news business isn’t easy. Our spouses deal with our long hours and travel, our preoccupation with news when we’re at home, unexpected interruptions on holidays and weekends, and our refusal to accept those free family tickets offered by the nearby theme park.

Lots of families have to deal with long hours and work that follows you home, but that theme park ticket example separates journalists from many other professions. We have an ethics code to follow.

User Gini / Flickr

The Highland Park school board member who filed the Open Meetings Act lawsuits against the state's financial review process for Detroit, has been indicted for theft. The U-S Attorney’s office says Robert Davis sent fake bills to the district and stole thousands of dollars.

Davis faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Authorities say between 2004 and 2010, he stole more than $125,000 from the Highland Park School District by using cover companies to submit fake invoices to the district.

wikimedia commons

Detroit officials and a state financial review team are free once again to try and reach a consent agreement. The Michigan Court of Appeals tonight unanimously overturned an Ingham County Court judge’s order that prohibited the two sides from working out an agreement before Monday’s deadline.

Judge restores power to Flint's mayor and city council

An Ingham County judge has restored authority to Flint's mayor and city council while ruling a state review team violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act during the process that led to a state-appointed emergency manager. The order Tuesday from Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is another legal defeat for Governor Rick Snyder's administration since the adoption of a state law last year that gave emergency managers expanded powers when appointed to help cities and schools fix their finances. Aquilina's order comes in a lawsuit brought by the leader of a union that represents some city of Flint employees. The decision invalidates last year's appointment of Flint emergency manager Michael Brown. Snyder pokeswoman Geralyn Lasher said the state will appeal the ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
 

State Supreme Court to hear Oakland County Board of Commissioners case

The Michigan Supreme Court is getting ready to hear oral arguments over who has the power to redraw lines for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners' districts. Lawyers for the Republican-controlled board and Oakland County Democrats will argue the case at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Hall of Justice. The justices will decide at a later date whether they'll take up the case on appeal. The Court of Appeals and a lower court already have ruled that a law passed last year by the GOP-controlled Legislature to give redistricting power to the commission rather than a bipartisan apportionment committee was a local act affecting only one government. The courts said the measure didn't meet constitutional requirements because it didn't pass with the necessary two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.
 

Interlochen Arts Academy celebrates 50th anniversary

The Interlochen Arts Academy is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a national concert tour. The academy's orchestra, band and choir are set to play Chicago's Harris Theater on Wednesday. They'll be at Orchestra Hall in Detroit on Thursday. The tour wraps up with shows in Washington on Saturday and New York on Monday. The students, faculty and staff will travel 2,200 miles by bus, transport 992 pieces of luggage and gobble up 6,750 boxed lunches along the way. Founded in 1962, the boarding fine arts high school has produced dozens of Grammy winners and Presidential Scholars. In 2006, the Interlochen Arts Academy was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for an arts organization. The school sits on a 1,200-acre campus in northwestern Michigan near Traverse City.

Foggy roads in SE Michigan

Authorities are urging motorists to drive more cautiously in southeast Michigan because of heavy fog that's
blanketing the area. The National Weather Service issued a dense fog advisory for Monday morning for Detroit, Ann Arbor, Pontiac, Lapeer, Port Huron, Monroe, Adrian and other area communities. In places, visibility was greatly reduced because of the fog. It comes as the state faces another day of unseasonably warm weather.
 

Reviewing life without parole for juveniles

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