Opinion
12:29 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Our future is tied to our kids' future, and a new report shows that doesn't look good

 

You have to give Detroiters a lot of credit.

They voted, by overwhelming margins, to accept major cuts to their pensions. In what was most surprising, nearly 90% of city retirees also voted to give up 90% of their health care benefits. They voted to make sacrifices in their old age to give their city a chance at a future, something that we should find pretty admirable.

Now, granted, they had a gun to their heads. They were told to take this deal, or something worse would be imposed on them, but they could have raged against the machine, and didn’t.

In fact, they weren’t even obligated to approve the health care cuts, though they probably couldn’t have stopped them.

People love to bash Detroiters, but throughout the years, they have stepped up time and again, voting to tax themselves when told they had to do so to save the city; voting now to accept new painful sacrifices.

Meanwhile, four classes of the city’s hugest creditors voted no on settlement offers made to them, and so further court battles lie ahead.

All of this is bound to overshadow another story today that in the long run may be as meaningful for our future.

Read more
Stateside
12:16 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Retired FBI agent appears in PBS' new documentary "Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?"

Credit WEWS-TV / YouTube

Thirty-nine years ago this month, Jimmy Hoffa was last seen having lunch at a restaurant in Bloomfield Township in Oakland County.

Retired FBI agent, Greg Stejskal, will appear in the new PBS documentary “Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?”

He joined us today on Stateside to revisit the mystery of the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.

Stejskal was a new agent with the FBI in Detroit in the summer of 1975 when Hoffa disappeared. The investigation into his disappearance was declared a Bureau "Special," which meant most of the agents in the Detroit office became involved.

One of Stejskal’s duties was to conduct neighborhood interviews around the Machus Red Fox restaurant, the last place where Hoffa was seen.

In the years that followed, Stejskal spent some time working organized crime. He remained in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area for his entire career. When he retired in 2006, he was the last agent still in the area that had worked the Hoffa case from the beginning.

You can check out our interview with Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry about Jimmy Hoffa here.

*Listen to our interview with Stejskal today at 3 p.m. Audio will be posted here at 4:30 p.m. 

Stateside
12:04 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Michigan artist Liz Larin's new album is about a "hero's journey"

Credit Peter Schorn / Flickr

Oakland County-based singer-songwriter and producer Liz Larin is coming to the Ark in Ann Arbor on August 3. She joins us today on Stateside to talk about her new CD “Hurricane.”

Larin started with a band in the 1980s and evolved from there as an artist. She plays almost all of the instruments and sings all of the vocals on her record. She even creates the visual images seen when she plays on stage. She said since the 80s, she has become more confident in her musical instincts.

“I hone the songs until the idea is as clear as possible and as visual as possible,” Larin said. “I want the listener to be able to listen to it and picture something – to the right of them, to the left of them – and what is actually going on while they are moving through the music.”

She says "Hurricane" has a narrative arc - a hero’s journey.

“It starts with the idea that everything that you thought about yourself and about the world, it just doesn’t fit anymore,” Larin said. “And you realize you have to go and find yourself and you have to find out what reality is for you.”

Larin said the title track “Hurricane” is the feeling of change. The track “Super Hero” is the story of a parent and a parent’s love for a child.

Larin is a fixture on Michigan's music scene and has won man Detroit Music Awards. She has traveled a lot from England to Los Angeles to New York, working with different producers and musicians, and now she is back in Michigan.

“I was cutting off my creative flow by letting executives tell me what I should be doing and what I should be writing and how I should be presenting myself,” Larin said.

Liz Larin’s new CD is called “Hurricane.” Find out more about her and her music at her website. She will be at the Ark on Sunday, August 3.

*Listen to our interview with Larin today at 3 p.m. Audio will be posted here at 4:30 p.m.

The Environment Report
11:44 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Carbon tax finds bipartisan support when funds are delegated to a specific cause

Some people think a tax on carbon dioxide is a good market-based approach to tackling climate change because it would require larger companies, such as power plants, to pay for their emissions. But it's a tough sell politically.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Economists often argue that we should use the market to fight climate change. Cap-and-trade legislation died in Congress back in 2010.  Some people think a tax on carbon dioxide is a better solution, but that would require large companies to pay for their carbon emissions.

Read more
Environment & Science
11:22 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Groups sue MDEQ over air permit granted to large steel plant

Citizen groups are suing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality over an air permit it granted to a Dearborn steel plant.

Two months ago, the MDEQ issued the permit to the Severstal plant. It allowed the facility to continue polluting at levels that had previously been cited by the state.

Read more
Stateside
11:11 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Cleanup continues four years after the Enbridge Energy oil spill in Michigan

Credit Steve Carmondy / Michigan Radio

This week marks four years since a pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy burst. It was a segment of Line 6B located just downstream from the pump station in Marshall.

The result? More than 1,000,000 gallons of oil have been recovered from Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith and The Environment Report’s Rebecca Williams joined Stateside to talk about the effects of the spill four years later.

Read more
9:59 am
Tue July 22, 2014

How does Michigan stack up when it comes to child well-being? Are you sure you want to know?

Lead in text: 
If it seems like these reports are always coming out, well, that's partly true. The sheer number of indicators to analyze means that reports trickle out throughout the year.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at statistics that should tell us something about how kids are faring across the country and in Michigan. The foundation looks at things like poverty, teen pregnancy and health insurance coverage to name a few. If it seems like these reports are always coming out, well, that's partly true.
Law
12:37 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Detroit retirees say yes to the "grand bargain" in big victory for Kevyn Orr, DIA

The grand bargain would protect the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection from being sold to pay off the city's debts.
Credit Detroit Institute of Arts

The proposed "grand bargain" that would soften the blow to Detroit pensioners while preserving the city's art collection has cleared a major hurdle.

That's because city retirees have voted for the plan by an overwhelming margin.

As city creditors, pensioners got to cast ballots for or against emergency manager Kevyn Orr's bankruptcy restructuring. The grand bargain is an integral part of that plan of adjustment.

Read more
Economy
10:22 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Henry Paulson tells Michigan to seek out Chinese investment

Paulson and Gov. Rick Snyder speak to reporters Monday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says foreign investment and immigration will be critical to turning around Michigan’s economy.

The former aide to President George W. Bush spoke before the Detroit Economic Club Monday afternoon with Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Make Michigan attractive for investment, period. OK? Make it attractive,” said Paulson.

He says Michigan should especially look to China to help boost the state’s economy. He says many Chinese businesses are looking to expand overseas, and Michigan needs to make it clear they are welcome.

Read more
Prisons
10:07 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

AG prison report cites human, technology errors as prime cause of inmate escape

Credit Photo courtesy of Michigan's Attorney General office / michigan.gov

A report by the Michigan Attorney General's office has found both human and technology failures played a part in the prison escape of a convicted murderer.

Michael Elliot slipped out of the Ionia Correctional Facility last February 2 by crawling under fences during a heavy snowfall. He wore white clothes to blend into the snow. He was captured about 24 hours later in Indiana.

Read more
Stateside
1:19 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Michigan grad rates below national average

Credit Wikimedia Commons

More and more students in Michigan are taking five or more years to finish college and get their degrees. Ron French from Bridge Magazine has been researching this for his new article, and he talked about the trend today on Stateside. French said nationally, 31% of students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. In Michigan, 12 of the 15 public universities are below that average.

Staying in school longer is more expensive, as extra semesters add cost. French said the fifth and sixth years are usually the most expensive, because financial aid dries up after eight semesters.

“Student debt nationally is over $1 trillion now,” said French.

Read more
Stateside
12:41 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

A new book follows one polar bear's recovery after cruel captivity

In early April 2005, Bärle brought her new cub, Talini, outside into the tundra enclosure for the first time. For the next few weeks, Talini stuck by her mother’s side as if she were tethered.
Credit Courtesy of Tom Roy

They've been on the earth for five million years. From their fur to their body fat, they've evolved to thrive in extremely cold temperatures. So the cruelty of removing a polar bear from its Arctic home and forcing it to live in a filthy Caribbean circus, in temperatures that soar over 100 degrees, is indescribable.

Else Poulson is an animal behaviorist, and she's a guest on today's Stateside program. She's also the president and co-founder of The Bear Care Group. Poulson was part of a Detroit Zoo team that helped a polar bear named Barle after she was rescued from a Caribbean circus called the Mexican Suarez Brothers Circus. Poulson wrote a book about the experience called "Barle's Story: One Polar Bear's Amazing Recovery from Life as a Circus Act."

Read more
Politics & Government
12:15 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Forget left and right on water shut-offs. Let's figure out how to fix the non-payment problem

Update: The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has announced a 15-day suspension of its controversial shutoff campaign.  

​Unless you’ve been completely out of touch, you know that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has been shutting off service to thousands of customers who haven’t paid their bills.

This has sparked huge controversy, protests and even condemnation from the United Nations. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes even got involved.

Last week, he told the deputy director of Detroit’s water department that shutting off water to city residents has, quote "caused not only a lot of anger in the city (but) also a lot of hardship."

And the judge added, "it’s caused a lot of bad publicity for the city it doesn’t need right now." That much is not in dispute. But not everyone is in agreement that this is an atrocity.

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, supports the shutoffs, saying that the rule everywhere is that “if you use water, you have to pay for it.” He notes that there’s an assistance program, and says that if people are in trouble, “all they need to do is call.”

Read more
Law
11:50 am
Mon July 21, 2014

DWSD will temporarily halt controversial water shutoffs

A DWSD spokeswoman insists this is a “pause," not a moratorium, to give people time to pay their overdue water bills.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will stop shutting off water service to people with unpaid bills.  

Curtrice Garner is a DWSD spokeswoman.  She insists this is a “pause," not a moratorium, to give people time to pay their overdue water bills.

“What we are going to do is temporarily stop the shutoffs or collections efforts,” says Garner, “However, after the 15 day period, we’ll commerce what we were doing which is shutting off those who are in delinquent status.”

Read more
Families & Community
11:47 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Genesee County tries to deal with feral cat population

Credit Gaurav Pandit

Feral cats have become a serious problem in Genesee County.

The cats can be seen all over the county's towns.

Cats can reproduce up to four times a year with an average litter of six. So officials and animal activists have been pushing residents to spay and neuter their cats. 

Jody Maddock is the program director for Adopt-a-Pet in Fenton. She said the problem has really gotten out of hand.

Read more
Law
11:12 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Jury selection begins in Renisha McBride shooting case

Credit Family photo

DETROIT (AP) - Jury selection starts today in Detroit in the trial of a 55-year-old man who shot to death a young woman who had been knocking on his door in the wee hours of the morning in November.

Prosecutors say Theodore Wafer grabbed his shotgun, opened the front door of his Dearborn Heights home and blasted 19-year-old Renisha McBride in the face.
 

McBride was drunk but unarmed when she had gone to get help after crashing her car.

Wafer claims McBride was aggressive and violent and that he acted in self-defense.

Law
6:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

We should learn whether Detroit retirees approved the "grand bargain" today

We should know how Detroit retirees voted on the proposed “grand bargain” later today.

City pensioners had until July 11th to vote on the city’s bankruptcy restructuring plan, formally known as the “plan of adjustment.”

The grand bargain is just one part of that plan.

It would use more than $800 million in combined state and private foundation dollars to backstop city pension funds, minimizing retiree losses.

Read more
Business
5:21 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Fmr. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants more foreign investment in the Great Lakes region

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is seen here at a reception in Beijing co-sponsored by the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and the Center in Beijing.
Credit University of Chicago-Paulson Institute

The nation’s former Treasury Secretary has an idea about how to bring more foreign investment to the Great Lakes region. He’s coming to Detroit today to pitch it to the city’s business leaders.

Henry Paulson sees the Great Lakes region as a place presenting a lot of opportunities for emerging markets, like China, to invest.

Paulson was President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary during the 2008 financial crisis. He championed the $700 billion bailout of the nation’s banks. Before that, Paulson headed the investment firm of Goldman Sachs.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:57 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Top state House Dem: Road solution not likely before November election

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says a vote on road funding likely won't come until the Legislature's lame duck session.
Credit WKAR-TV

The top Democrat in the state House says a road funding solution will probably have to wait until after the November election.

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says too many lawmakers are not willing to make the tough vote until they’re past their reelection bids. That’s because boosting infrastructure spending by more than a billion dollars a year would likely mean raising taxes to pay for it.

“I think there’s a very high likelihood that it doesn’t occur until lame duck, unfortunately,” said Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, on an appearance over the weekend on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

Read more
Business
2:50 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Plan to transform downtown Detroit released

An artist's conception of the yet-to-be named downtown hockey arena.
Credit Olympia Entertainment

Downtown Detroit could undergo a major transformation under a development plan unveiled today.

The organization that owns the Detroit Red Wings says it wants to transform the northern part of downtown Detroit into a sports/entertainment/retail and residential destination.

Read more

Pages