Lansing
4:07 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Lansing police may soon get some help patrolling city streets

Downtown Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Some Ingham County sheriff’s deputies may soon be patrolling Lansing city streets.   

The sheriff’s department wants to assign up to four deputies to work part time in the capitol city.   

Budget problems forced the city to lay off 36 police officers earlier this year.   

Teresa Szymanski is Lansing’s chief of police.    She says the added officers would be welcome.   

“Would we like more?  Absolutely.   Is it good?  It’s very good," says Szymanski.   

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Auto/Economy
3:59 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Gas prices jump in Michigan

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Gasoline prices spiked 20 to 25 cents across Michigan today.   

Patrick DeHaan is with GasBuddy.com.  He says the strong start to the holiday shopping season is pushing up speculation in the crude oil market and that in turn is affecting wholesale gasoline prices.   

“A lot of stations have just got close to the line where they’re no longer profitable," says DeHaan, "So, looking at a higher cost that they were paying for gasoline they decided that they had to raise their price.”    

Offbeat
3:53 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Nonprofit, White Stripes bring music to Michigan deaf students

While the Detroit-based rock duo the White Stripes officially broke up early this year, they are still providing inspiration and encouragement to Michigan students, including some from Flint's Michigan School for the Deaf.

According to the Flint Journal, D-Pan (Deaf Professional Artists Network), an Oakland County-based nonprofit, is working to give deaf students the ability to enjoy music and one of the organization's recent projects was to create a music video set to the White Stripes “We’re Going to be Friends” featuring students signing the song's lyrics.

As the Journal reports, the White Stripes were not directly involved with the project, but some D-Pan supporters were personally acquainted with the band, who not only gave D-Pan their blessing  to use the song, but also gave the project a shout out on their website.

Check out the video below:

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
3:35 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Kalamazoo Promise scholarship yields mixed results

Six years after Kalamazoo Public schools unveiled the Promise scholarship, the program's administrators say the program has had success, but maintain there is still a lot of work to be done, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

The program has provided tuition assistance to more than 2,300 district high school graduates to the tune of over $30 million.

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Politics
2:06 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Long waits for hearings on welfare challenges

A Michigan Department of Human Services office in Detroit was the scene of protests, confusion, and anger this morning.  This was the day people losing welfare cash assistance had a chance to challenge that decision, but the hearings were delayed.

People losing cash-assistance were told to be at the Department of Humans Services office at 8 o’clock this morning and to be prepared to spend the day waiting for their teleconferenced hearing to be conducted.  Three hours later, the hearings had not started.

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Economy
12:53 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Police layoffs in Inkster, Michigan

The city is facing a multi-million dollar deficit.
City of Inkster

The city of Inkster is laying off twelve police officers amid a budget crisis. WXYZ-TV confirmed the layoffs with Inkster Police Chief Gregory Gaskin:

From WXYZ-TV:

Effective today, Gaskin confirms twelve police officers will be laid-off. Two other officers have resigned and four civilians were laid-off last week.

Chief Gaskin says some lieutenants and sergeants have also been demoted as part of their reorganization plan to make sure there is still an adequate number of officers to respond to calls.

On November 9, the state Treasury Department announced that the city was in "probable financial stress." Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported a state-appointed emergency manager could be next:

Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton says the city is having trouble solving a multi-million dollar deficit.  "And the review also found city official have proposed unrealistic budgets and failed to make budget revisions in a timely manner," Stanton says.

Culture of class
11:52 am
Mon November 28, 2011

A recap of Michigan Radio's "Culture of Class" series

Word cloud put together with feedback on our "Culture of Class" series.
Sarah Alvarez Michigan Radio

From November 14 through November 23, Michigan Radio reporters explored social class in our society.

We looked at how social class is defined, how people relate to it, and the diverse ways it affects our daily lives.

In case you missed any of these stories, here is a brief rundown of the topics we explored.

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Author Interviews
10:34 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Arc of Justice: A conversation with author Kevin Boyle

Every year the Michigan Humanities Council invites Michiganders to participate in a statewide initiative, the Great Michigan Read. This year’s selection, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, explores a crucial moment in the northern Civil Rights movement—the events leading to the trial of African American physician Ossian Sweet and his family.

On September 9th, 1925 Dr. Sweet and his wife Gladys moved into their new home, crossing the color line into an all-white neighborhood on the east side of Detroit.

Two days later, a crowd of whites gathered in the street to drive the family away. Dr. Sweet and 10 others chose to stay, armed and barricaded inside the house, to defend against the mob. Tensions reached their limit and someone fired into the crowd. Two whites were shot and killed, and the 11 people inside the Sweet home were charged with first degree murder.

Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White spoke with Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice.

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Commentary
10:05 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Doing the Right Thing

Earlier this month, Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards ruled that the privately held Ambassador Bridge company was guilty of contempt of court. This was not surprising.

Nearly two years ago, the judge found that the company and its owner, Matty Moroun, had violated its agreement with the state of Michigan concerning what is known as the Gateway project. This was a joint, two-hundred and thirty million dollar venture between the bridge company and the state to connect the bridge directly to I-75 and I-96 through a series of new roads and ramps.

Both parties agreed on where the roads were to be built. But Moroun violated the agreement. He built a money-generating duty-free shop and put fuel pumps where one of the new roads was to have gone. The Michigan Department of Transportation sued, and in February 2010, the judge issued a ruling.

He ordered the bridge company to tear down the pumps and the duty-free shop, and build the road as agreed. But nothing happened. Eleven months ago, the judge briefly jailed Dan Stamper, president of the bridge company for non-compliance.

He let him out when Stamper promised to get it done. But again, nothing happened. Finally, on November 2, the judge ruled the company guilty of civil contempt.

He set a hearing for Thursday to decide whether to have a court-appointed receiver take control of the project.

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What's Working
9:59 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Michigan's State Park System

The Michigan State Park System won the gold medal award this year for the top state park system in the nation. People use the parks for swimming and boating during the summer, and hunting and downhill skiing during the winter, among a host of other activities.  We wanted to find out more about how the parks system affects our lives.  So, as part of our series, "What's Working," we called Ron Olson, the Chief of Parks and Recreation.

Lansing
9:25 am
Mon November 28, 2011

How often should the Lansing city council meet?

The Lansing city council discusses an issue during one of their 50 city charter required meetings this year
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 The Lansing City Council will talk about the benefits of meeting less often tonight.  

The city charter requires the council to meet 50 times a year.  City Clerk Chris Swope says, with that schedule, the council is wasting money.   

“It’s not just a matter of that cost but…we should be more efficient. People shouldn’t have to watch 50 times a year to keep an eye on what the city council is doing," says Swope.   

Swope proposes reducing the current city council meeting schedule from 50 required meetings to 26 meetings each year.  

News Roundup
9:15 am
Mon November 28, 2011

In this morning's news...

user brother o'mara Flickr

Detroit Public Schools face fines for truancy

For the 2012-2011 school year, Detroit Public Schools had an attendance record that fell below 75 percent for 46 days, according to the Detroit News. School districts that fall below 75 percent face fines.

More from the Detroit News:

State officials are weighing how much to penalize Detroit Public Schools for persistent truancy, a problem that could cost the financially troubled district up to $25.9 million, according to documents obtained by The Detroit News.

In the past school year, attendance at DPS fell below the state minimum of 75 percent on 46 days. The district says it is bracing for a loss of  the full amount, though the Michigan Department of Education expects a much lower final figure.

Low attendance naturally leads to poorer performing schools.

 

Cash assistance cut-off

Some Michigan families will find out today and tomorrow whether they're cut off from state cash assistance. A new state law puts a four-year cap on cash assistance.  Rick Pluta reports "the state Department of Human Services is holding two days of “rocket docket” hearings. People challenging their cutoff are expected to show up first thing in the morning, and wait their turn to make their case to a magistrate and a caseworker. They will be told before they leave whether they still qualify."

There are expected to be some protests outside of some DHS offices today.

Snow Wednesday

Snow is coming this week, according to the National Weather Service. Rain is expected to turn to snow late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning. The Detroit Free Press quotes NWS Hydro Meteorological Technician Debra Elliott:

“It looks like, for the most part, 1 to 3 inches of snow will be possible west of U.S. 23, and east of U.S. 23, we’re looking for less than an inch of accumulation,” Elliott said, adding that the snow could affect Wednesday’s morning commute. “That could be a little bit of a mess for people, especially on the west side of 23.”

Flint
8:16 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Naming of Flint Emergency Manager may be near

People opposed to placing Flint under the control of an emergency manager let their feelings known
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Governor Snyder this week may name an Emergency Manager for the city of Flint.   

 It’s been nearly three weeks since the governor agreed with a state review team’s finding that the city of Flint is in a fiscal crisis.    That finding opened the door to the governor appointing an emergency manager to oversee Flint city government.    

The city is struggling with millions of dollars of debt and a declining tax base.   The time for the city to file a court challenge to the finding expired over the weekend. 

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Arts/Culture
8:00 am
Mon November 28, 2011

NEA grant used to create "free to low-fee" legal service for artists

user imedagoze Flickr

The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded $340,000 to Michigan arts groups.

This round of grants went to support events like the International Jazz Festival in Detroit, and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo. You can see a full list here.

The advocacy group ArtServe Michigan got a $25,000 grant to create a new program to help artists navigate the law. Cezanne Charles is with ArtServe, and she says the nonprofit plans to hold workshops next year about intellectual property rights, how to start an LLC, even how to buy a building:

"In a lot of states that we’ve talked to, this is not something that artists can regularly do. But in our unique state, this is something that a lot of artists are doing and a lot of creative businesses are doing."

The Lawyers for a Creative Economy program will provide free consultations and lawyer referrals, as well as legal services to artists on a sliding scale or pro bono basis.

Investigative
7:00 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Legislators want data before changing auto no-fault

user H.L.I.T. Flickr

Michigan legislators are looking at changing the state’s mandatory auto no-fault insurance.  But some of the legislators say the information they need from insurance companies to make an informed decision has not been available to them.  Regulators say legislators and the public wouldn’t be able to understand the information even if it were made available.

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Science/Medicine
8:35 pm
Sun November 27, 2011

New clinic hopes to save patients money and provide better health care

Spectrum Health's Level I Trauma Center is located in Butterworth Hospital's emergency department in Grand Rapids.
Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health is launching a new clinic in Grand Rapids to target people who visit its emergency rooms more than 10 times a year.

Doctor Corey Waller identified the problem while working in Spectrum Health's emergency rooms. The non-profit health system says there were 950 of these high-frequency visitors in 2008. That’s an average of 21 times per person. Combined, their visits cost at least $40 million a year.

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Arts/Culture
9:41 pm
Sat November 26, 2011

Cindy Van Andel, wife of Amway Chairman, dies at age 57

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel, and his wife Cindy at Davenport University's Excellence in Business Awards in 2010.
Davenportweb / Creative Commons Davenport University

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel issued a brief statement Saturday night:

"I am saddened by the loss of my loving wife Cindy Van Andel. She passed away Friday evening after a brief illness. Cindy has been my friend, confidant and partner for almost 33 years of marriage. She was a warm and caring person who could light up an entire room just by her smile. Her heart went out to all she met and she will be greatly missed."

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Volunteering
12:00 pm
Sat November 26, 2011

Michigan wants YOU to volunteer

Thanksgiving day volunteers in NYC
Flickr notladj

About 2.3 million people volunteer in Michigan each year. But the state wants even more people to lend a helping hand.

Paula Kaiser VanDam is the executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission. Even though the holidays are a time when people are feeling especially generous, Kaiser VanDam hopes people will share their time and their selves throughout the year.

“There are volunteer opportunities all year long and we hope people would consider that kind of giving as well.”

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Arts/Culture
12:13 am
Sat November 26, 2011

Frederik Meijer dies at age 91

 

Frederik Meijer, the Chairman Emeritus of Meijer grocery stores has died at the age of 91.

Meijer Corp. owns more than 150 stores in Michigan and around the Midwest.

He also helped establish the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, MI.

Meijer and his wife Lena were major philanthropists in Western Michigan. One organization to receive a major gift was Grand Valley State University, which named its public broadcast center after him.

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Arts/Culture
6:12 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

MSU's Broad Art Museum to open April 21, 2012

Construction at the Broad Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Michigan State University

The long-awaited Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has officially set its opening date: April 21, 2012.

But there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done;  the Zaha Hadid-designed building is still under construction, exhibits still need to be planned, and positions need to be filled.

But Min Jung Kim, the museum's deputy director, is confident it will all be ready for the museum’s grand opening. She says the whole process of creating a museum from scratch is exciting:

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