Politics
8:13 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Paul campaigns in Michigan

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul drew more than 1,000 people to Central Michigan University Saturday.

The Texas Congressman trails both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in polls headed into Tuesday's GOP primary in Michigan.

Paul focused on his libertarian-leaning ideas of limited government and a non-interventionist foreign policy in his campaign speech.

The 76-year-old also supports an end to drug prohibition.

Paul is scheduled to make a series of stops in Michigan including Detroit, Lansing and Hudsonville today and tomorrow.

Science/Medicine
7:04 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Michigan mental health advocates ask for insurance parity

anitapatterson Morguefile

An effort is under way to require autism coverage by insurance companies in Michigan. But mental health advocates want coverage to be mandated for all mental illness.

The autism coverage issue has gotten a lot of attention because Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s daughter has autism, and he supports the insurance mandate.

But others say lawmakers need to go further.

Dr. Leigh White is assistant director for the Olin Student Health Center at Michigan State University.

She says people are often blamed for their mental illness.  

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Politics
4:54 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Michigan Tea Party straw poll picks favorite Republican U.S. Senate candidate

Many of Michigan's tea party activists are trying to rally behind one of at least eight Republicans running for the chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association won a "straw poll" Saturday from representatives of more than 40 tea party groups joining under the name Michigan 4 Conservative Senate. The group wants to avoid dispersing clout in a field crowded with conservatives.

Glenn issued a statement after the straw poll: 

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Offbeat
4:01 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Michigan's roads - A sign of Spring

There’s another sign that winter never really came to Michigan this year.   And it can be found along the state’s roads.

Every year in preparation for the Spring thaw, county road commissions impose weight restrictions on trucks to reduce wear on roadbeds made brittle by winter’s cold.     But not this year.

About two/thirds of Michigan road commissions haven’t imposed restrictions, and most probably won’t, because freezing winter weather never materialized.    

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Economy
11:26 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Task force: Michigan's foreclosure crisis cost $63 billion so far

anncam Morguefile

A new task force says $63 billion dollars of Michigan’s housing value was lost between 2006 and 2010.

The Michigan Foreclosure Task Force teamed with Grand Valley State University’s Community Research Institute. They've launched a new Web site that shows the impact of the crisis, county by county.

Steve Tobocman is with the task force. He says more than 400,000 Michigan properties were touched by foreclosure in the five-year period they studied.

"The impacts were truly historic," Tobocman says. "We haven't seen anything like this since the Great Depression."

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Politics
10:14 am
Sat February 25, 2012

The stakes are high for Mitt Romney in Michigan's presidential primary

Mitt Romney

Losing the Michigan primary would strip the last of the varnish off the image that Mitt Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee for president. It would also commit him to the long march he says he is prepared to wage.

A Rick Santorum victory next week would be bad for Romney — a public-relations nightmare for a native son of Michigan. But political observers say it would mean little to the campaign that still has more money than any other and remains better organized to compete to the end.

Santorum has shot up in the polls in Michigan and even leads Romney in some.

Politics
10:08 am
Sat February 25, 2012

A pair of Michigan State House seats on the line in Tuesday's election

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Election season gets off to an early start this year for the Michigan House.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in two districts to fill vacancies left by former lawmakers. One seat covers a portion of Genesee County, while the other covers part of Oakland County.

The winners would have to run again to get full, two-year terms later in the year.

Republicans enter the 2012 election season with a 62-46 advantage over Democrats in the House.

Presidential Primary
5:57 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Huh? A vote for Santorum is actually a vote for Gingrich? And, other political junkie theories

Rick Santorum is one of eleven Republicans that want your vote on Tuesday, the day of Michigan's presidential primary
Gage Skidmore Flickr

Four days. We are now four days away from the state’s super-important, all-encompassing presidential primary (just in case you don’t feel like doing the math – that would be Tuesday). At this point in the campaign, the most recent polls are showing Mitt Romney with a slight advantage over his main rival in the state, Rick Santorum.

Polling galore

“We have a Rasmussen poll that puts Mitt Romney ahead of Rick Santorum – outside of the margin of error – which would be an actual lead,” Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network explains. And, then there’s the new poll by Mitchell Research and Communications which also shows Romney in the lead but this one, “is inside the margin of error… a statistical tie. But, I think perhaps more important than specifically where the numbers are at, it’s what direction we’re seeing the race take,” Pluta notes.

The all-important TREND moving towards Romney

Rather than just looking at one or two polls, political campaigns tend to look at the actual trend of the numbers: are the numbers moving in the direction of one candidate or the other over a certain period of time and what the spread is between the numbers. “A lot of times, a lot of the media focuses on ‘if the election were held today, then this would be the result’ kind of coverage. And, political professionals certainly care about that… but, they care more about what the spread is, what the gap is, between the candidates and what direction everything is taking. And, right now, everything seems to be moving in Mitt Romney’s direction,” Pluta explains.

So, where’s Newt?

Newt Gingrich, who, just a few short weeks ago was seen as Mitt Romney’s main rival for the GOP nomination, has not actively campaigned in the state. “We have confirmed, what we have long suspected: Gingrich is really leaving Michigan to Rick Santorum to chew on Mitt Romney,” Pluta explains.

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Politics
4:02 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

State law quickly passed to allow Highland Park students to transfer

Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that allows students in Highland Park to transfer to another district or charter school now that the Highland Park district has run out of money. The Legislature approved the measure Thursday.

The Highland Park school district could not meet this week’s payroll, although at least some teachers still showed up for work.

The new law allows several hundred Highland Park students to make a mid-year transfer to another district or a charter school, paid for with a $4,000 state grant.

It’s not known how many students and their families could or would take the opportunity.

Highland Park schools were under the control of a state-appointed manager, but the manager had to step down after a judge ruled the review team that recommended a state takeover violated Michigan’s open meetings law.

It will be next week before the governor can re-appoint the emergency manager.

After that, the new law also allows the emergency manager to use the per-student stipend to pay another district or a charter school operator to hold classes in Highland Park schools.

Politics
3:15 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Romney stops at Ford Field to address the Detroit Economic Club

Mitt Romney addresses the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field in Detroit.
Laura Weber MPRN

Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney received a warm reception from the Detroit Economic Club today.

Romney and his rivals vying for the Republican nomination have just a few days left to woo voters before the state’s Republican primary on Tuesday.

Romney spoke to the group on the 30 yard line of the vast, mostly empty Ford Field about his proposals to reduce individual and corporate income taxes, and end federal subsidies for Amtrak and funding for Planned Parenthood if he is elected president.

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Science/Medicine
1:39 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

E. coli cases in Michigan linked to sprouts in fast-food sandwiches

flickr.com

Michigan health officials are warning people not to eat raw clover sprouts, because they may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says two people were hospitalized after eating the sprouts at sandwich shops in mid and southeast Michigan earlier this month.

Five other people became sick.

Health officials say two confirmed cases of E. coli in Michigan had the same genetic fingerprint as cases in other states. All were  linked to raw clover sprouts eaten at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

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Your Story
12:24 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Your Story: If you love Michigan, give stuff away for free

Kedron Rhodes displaying some of the Michigan-centric designs he's giving away each day in February.
photo courtesy of Kedron Rhodes

A lot of people like where they live, but there are also people like Kedron Rhodes-who love, love, love, where they live.

The 34 year-old professional designer lives outside of Grand Rapids.

He just can't think of enough ways to show his appreciation for Michigan. But he's trying. One of his ideas is to run a design challenge of sorts. 

Each day in February, Rhodes is making a new graphic design and posting it online.

Anyone can download the designs and use them as they see fit.

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Politics
11:17 am
Fri February 24, 2012

7 states challenge birth control coverage rule, including Michigan

Seven states are suing the Obama administration over its position on birth control.
user anna Flickr

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Michigan and six other states are asking a federal judge to block an Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated organizations.

The lawsuit filed at a U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska alleges that the new rule violates the First Amendment rights of groups such as the Roman Catholic church that object to the use of contraceptives.

The rule announced as part of the federal health care law has come under fire not only from Catholic bishops but also the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. In response to this criticism, Obama administration officials have said they will shift the requirement from the employers to health insurers themselves.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says the proposed change still fails to address their concerns.

Joining the lawsuit are Nebraska, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina.

Commentary
9:24 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Romney and the Bridge

If you’ve following the Michigan Republican presidential primary race, you probably know that Governor Rick Snyder has endorsed Mitt Romney. If you’ve been following politics in Michigan, you probably know that one of the governor’s top priorities is a new bridge over the Detroit River, the New International Trade Crossing.

Nearly the entire corporate and business community want this bridge. But the governor hasn’t even been able to get a vote on it in the legislature, where many of the members have taken campaign  donations from Matty Moroun, owner of the rival Ambassador Bridge. Moroun doesn’t want any competition, and so far, has managed to frustrate the governor and get his way.

This is not purely a local issue; this is America’s most economically important border crossing. Billions in heavy freight cross the Ambassador Bridge every month. Getting a new bridge is a top economic priority for Canada, our nation’s biggest trading partner.

So, how does Mitt Romney stand on the question of whether we should build a new international bridge? The answer seems to be that he doesn’t. He is apparently refusing to take a position on it.

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Election 2012
9:17 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Romney Tries To Connect With Mich. Tea Party Voters

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:43 am

Michigan holds its GOP primary next Tuesday, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spoke at a Tea Party rally in Milford Thursday night. That's a segment of the party that he's had a hard time winning over in previous states during this primary season.

Commentary
9:13 am
Fri February 24, 2012

What's next after the Michigan primary? We don't know.

Lots of pontificating about the potential results of the Michigan primary, but now one really knows what will happen.
YouTube

One thing Americans like about presidential politics is the horse race – the fast-changing, up and down battle.

And on that score, the Republican primary this season has delivered.

The nutshell narrative goes something like this: Romney-the-inevitable has been muted by a series of flavor of the month challengers – Perry, Cain, Gingrich – and now Santorum.

And even if you’re just a mild political junkie, there’s a good chance you’ll turn on the radio or TV or go online next Tuesday - not just to find out whether Romney survived or Santorum surged.

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News Roundup
8:59 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In this morning news...

Morning News Roundup, Friday, February 24th, 2012
Brother O'Mara Flickr

4 Days To Go: MI Presidential Primary

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will speak at Ford Field today in Detroit as part of a speech to the Detroit Economic Club. The Detroit Free Press has an interesting article detailing how the Romney campaign and the DEC plan to make the stadium appear more crowded for the event. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum plans to be in Walled Lake and St. Clair Shores today and then travel to Troy tomorrow. Ron Paul has announced several visits throughout the state this weekend, including a stop at Central Michigan University tomorrow. Michigan's presidential primary is Tuesday.

Highland Park

The Highland Park school board has cleared the way for Governor Snyder to quickly re-appoint an emergency manager, Sarah Cwiek reports. From Cwiek:

The board chose not to appeal the state’s finding of a financial emergency in the district. It was the second time a state review team made that finding. But the emergency manager Governor Snyder had already appointed, Jack Martin, had to step down to comply with a court ruling that voided the appointment process. So the state had to quickly re-do the whole process this week. The board fought the decision and lost the first time, but decided not to appeal this time… In the meantime, the state has approved an emergency aid package that should keep Highland Park schools open--at least temporarily--and get teachers paid, though not until next week at the earliest. But that money would also follow students if they choose to leave the district.

Winter Weather

It appears winter might finally be making an appearance in Southern Michigan. A winter storm, “is bringing wet snow, slippery roads and school closings to southern Michigan, with up to 9 inches forecast in parts of the state. The National Weather Service says winter storm warnings were in effect for much of the southern Lower Peninsula on Friday. About 5 to 8 inches was expected in areas including Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Parts of southeast Michigan could get up to 8 inches,” the Associated Press reports.

Offbeat
7:59 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Michigan lawmakers take the plunge... polar plunge, that is

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley takes the polar plunge yesterday outside the Capitol building to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan
Photo courtesy of the Governor's office

Almost 30 Michigan lawmakers jumped into a cold pool yesterday outside of the state's Capitol building. They raised some $20,000 for Special Olympics Michigan. "Proceeds from these plunges help support year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than 20,670 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Michigan," the Special Olympics Michigan website explains.

After Lt. Governor Brian Calley jumped into the chilly waters  yesterday afternoon, Governor Snyder (@onetoughnerd) tweeted: Who knew @briancalley had such mad hops?

And, just in case you want to see it to believe it, the Michigan Information and Research Service posted this video of many of the lawmakers (many dressed in costumes) taking the plunge:

Election 2012
7:09 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In Michigan, Obama Team Builds On 2008 Foundation

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, when Mitt Romney speaks today at the Detroit Economic Club, he will be met by protesters and a banner that reads: Romney Said Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. That was the headline on a 2008 opinion piece that Romney wrote opposing a taxpayer bailout for two of the Detroit car companies, GM and Chrysler.

And Democrats are missing no opportunity to remind voters of that, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

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Sports Commentary
7:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

A sad step backward in Michigan football history

Willis Ward and Gerald Ford. "Willis was probably my closest friend on the football team," Ford once said. "We were the leaders." Ward was forced to sit during a 1934 game against Georgia Tech.

When Ann Arbor's own George Jewett, an African-American, made Michigan’s football team in 1890, he would not have predicted it would take more than four decades for another black player to follow him.

The biggest reason was Michigan’s head coach from 1901 to 1926, Fielding H. Yost, who had unequaled ambition and ego, and six national titles to back it all up.

But he also had a blind spot: he was a racist.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.  His dad fought for the Confederates, after all.  But Yost was surprised decades later when his discriminatory decisions created a national controversy.

It started when he named Harry Kipke Michigan’s next head coach.

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