Changing Gears
12:01 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Michigan Primary raises a big question: Who gets credit for the bailout?

Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant.
Chrysler

Publicus Tacitus, the Roman senator, is given credit for coining the phrase, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”

He’d feel right at home during the Michigan Republican primary campaign.

Over the past few weeks, candidates, their opponents and those who played a role have been debating just who should get credit for the auto industry bailout.

It’s a long-overdue discussion of what happened a little over three years ago, and the conversation shows just what a political hot button the situation still is for people in Michigan and the Midwest. Here’s a list of credit takers and how they make their cases.

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Commentary
11:22 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Should You Vote Tomorrow?

Michigan’s presidential primary is tomorrow, and the safest prediction one can make is this: Most of us won’t vote in it.

The primary four years ago drew barely 20 percent of eligible voters, and that’s when both parties had a contested nomination. This year, only Republicans do.

There is technically a Democratic primary, but President Obama’s name is the only one on the ballot -- though you can also cast a non-binding vote for uncommitted Democratic delegates.

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Your Family Story
10:56 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Arriving in a new land, alone at seventeen

Esther and Antonio Manzo on their wedding day in the mid 1940's.
courtesy of Carlos Manzo

Most Americans have ethnic and cultural roots outside of the U.S. We're asking you to share cultural traditions that are still important to you.

Changing Gears is looking for stories, recipes, songs, and pictures. We'll be collecting these stories  on the Your Family Story page. They'll also appear at changinggears.info and we'll even put some on the air. You can share your story here.

In the early 1900’s our widowed great grandmother, Soledad Perez, left the USA and went back to La Piedad in Mexico to raise her four daughters: Luz, Angelina, Esther & Carmen.

In the winter of 1948 my mother, Esther, a young newly married 17 year-old, found herself in a Mexican border town boarding a train headed for the USA. Her husband (my father Antonio Ramirez Manzo) gave her an address of a Catholic parish in Detroit, MI.

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Election 2012
10:17 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Romney, Santorum battle for Michigan votes

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 6:40 am

Along with Arizona, Michigan holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. If Rick Santorum beats native son Mitt Romney in Michigan, it could throw the race into turmoil.

Seeking Change
10:16 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Creating a place to live alongside nature

Environmental Protection Agency

As part of our weekly series, "Seeking Change," we're meeting with people who are trying to create positive change in the communities in which they live. Planners of the Manitou Arbor Ecovillage want their residential community to be a place where people live harmoniously with each other, and with nature. It’s a planned village near Kalamazoo. Ginny Jones is the founder of the ecovillage.  She’s also an environmental studies professor at Western Michigan University.

Auto
10:04 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Auto Bailout Is Hot-Button Issue In Michigan

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:03 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

General Motors made a record-breaking profit last year. And to date, taxpayers have recovered close to half the $50 billion federal investment in the company. So the auto bailout worked, right? Wrong, say Republican presidential candidates, who insist the bailout was a huge mistake.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

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News Roundup
9:58 am
Mon February 27, 2012

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Monday, February 26th, 2012
Brother O'Mara Flickr

GOP Candidates Making Final Stops in MI

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul will all continue their campaigning across Michigan today ahead of the state’s presidential primary tomorrow. After a rally this morning in Rockford, Romney stops in Albion this afternoon and then travels to Royal Oak this evening where he’ll be joined by Governor Snyder. His main rival, Rick Santorum, will spend part of the morning addressing the Livonia/Farmington Hills Chamber of Commerce, then travels to Lansing for an afternoon rally and stops in Kalamazoo this evening. Meanwhile, Paul, who just began campaigning in the state this past weekend, has a visit to Detroit on his campaign schedule.

Voter Turnout

Predicting just how many voters will turn up at the polls tomorrow for the primary is tricky business, Steve Carmody reports. “We don’t have a turnout estimate at this point because it is a presidential primary and they do vary greatly from cycle to cycle,” Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, told Carmody. “Woodhams says August primaries generally bring in about 18 to 20 percent of eligible voters. But then again that’s August. Adding to the uncertainty is a host of local issues which may, or may not, boost turnout. Voters in parts of Oakland and Genesee Counties are electing people to vacant state house seats,” Carmody reports.

Meeting on West MI Nuclear Power

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss safety violations at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven this week.  “The plant had five unplanned shutdowns last year. As a result, the NRC downgraded the plant’s safety performance rating. Now it’s one of only four plants in the country with such a bad safety rating. 'It is not a routine meeting for the agency,' said NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng.  The meeting will run from 6 p.m. to -8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in South Haven,” Lindsey Smith reports.

Election 2012
6:22 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Why Michigan Catholics favor the Mormon candidate

Rick Santorum signs Joe Boulus' apron at a Lenten fish fry Friday in Michigan. Mitt Romney is ahead of Santorum among Catholic voters in the state, despite the fact that Santorum is Catholic.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:20 am

Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are neck-and-neck in the polls in the run-up to the Michigan Republican primary on Tuesday.

One group that Romney appears to have an advantage with is Roman Catholic voters despite the fact that he is Mormon and Santorum Catholic.

The disconnect between faith and politics highlights differences among Catholics and shows that some religious voters are focusing more on other issues.

Declaring Faith

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Election 2012
6:21 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Romney name doesn't guarantee ballot magic In Michigan

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 1:37 am

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney plays up his Michigan roots when he talks to voters in the state where he grew up.

In 2008, Romney won the Republican presidential primary in Michigan. On the campaign trail, he likes to tell stories about his father, George, who was an iconic governor of Michigan in the 1960s:

"He said, 'It sure is great to be in Mount Clemens today,' even though he was in Mount Pleasant. My mother was sitting behind and said, 'George, it's "Pleasant." ' He said, 'Yes, it's pleasant in Mount Clemens.' "

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energy
5:00 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to answer questions about Palisades

NRC.gov

This Wednesday the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss safety violations at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven.

The plant had five unplanned shutdowns last year. As a result, the NRC downgraded the plant’s safety performance rating. Now it’s one of only four plants in the country with such a bad safety rating.

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Politics
4:30 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Critics of Michigan’s emergency manager law to turn in signatures

This week people hoping to overturn Michigan's emergency manager law plan to turn in petition signatures to state officials. State appointed emergency managers have broad powers to run cities and school districts with major financial problems. 

Roughly 160,000 valid signatures are needed to put the emergency manager law on the November ballot. The group claims they’ve collected at least 200,000 signatures. If the state certifies them the law would be put on hold until the November election.

The school board in the Muskegon Heights school district requested an emergency manager.

Interim Superintendent Dave Sipka worries what would happen there if the law was suspended.

“If an emergency manager isn’t available to help out then you know there’s a strong possibility this district could go bankrupt," Sipka said. 

Muskegon Heights Public Schools has run a deficit for at least six years in a row.

Election 2012
10:07 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Thousands show up at Ron Paul campaign stops in Michigan

Ron Paul speaking at The Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville Sunday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Congressman Ron Paul is making stops in Detroit, Dearborn and Lansing Monday, a day before Michigan’s presidential primary. Paul attracted more than 1,000 people at two separate campaign stops in Mt. Pleasant and a Grand Rapids suburb over the weekend.

People wearing ‘Ron Paul revolution’ baseball caps and sweatshirts filled a banquet hall in Hudsonville to capacity Sunday. There Paul said the United States needs to end its involvement in foreign conflicts and privatize entitlement programs like Social Security. He also stressed the need for more civil freedom.

“We’ll never agree on how we want to use our freedoms. In a room like this there might be 50 different religious values and some with no religious values at all. But freedom answers the question because we don’t impose ourselves on other people. You do what you want,” Paul said.

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Politics
2:01 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Elections officials unsure how many Michiganders will vote in Tuesday's GOP presidential primary

Will there be long lines outside of polling places in Michigan on Tuesday?
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Predicting presidential primary turnout is a tricky business. You would think if anyone would have a good idea of what to expect it would be the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections in Michigan.

“We don’t have a turnout estimate at this point," says Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, "because it is a presidential primary and they do vary greatly from cycle to cycle.”

Woodhams says August primaries generally bring in about 18 to 20 percent of eligible voters. But then again that’s August. Adding to the uncertainty is a host of local issues which may, or may not, boost turnout.

Voters in parts of Oakland and Genesee Counties are electing people to vacant state house seats. There are also numerous school bond and other local issues on the ballot in communities around the state.

Iraq War
1:53 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Remains of a missing solider from Ann Arbor identified

Staff Sgt. Ahmed Kousay al-Taie
(Courtesy of Iraqwarheroes.org)

The U.S military says it has identified the remains of the last American service member unaccounted for in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Ahmed Kousay al-Taie was an Army interpreter who was born in Iraq and lived in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was kidnapped at gunpoint in October 2006 when he sneaked off base on a motorcycle to visit his Iraqi wife in central Baghdad.

The Army issued a statement Sunday saying that the military's mortuary in Dover, Del., had positively identified a set of remains as belonging to al-Taie.

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.

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