Auto/Economy
12:48 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

President Obama expected to visit Holland next week

President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

President Obama is expected to visit Holland in one week from today. His visit coincides with the opening of a new Johnson Controls plant that will make batteries for electric cars.

Mr. Obama visited Holland last year to mark the ground-breaking of an LG Chem battery facility. Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says the president’s visit is a great opportunity for his community, and the state as a whole.

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Environment
11:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Crews looking for Asian carp in Lake Calumet

Kate Gardiner Creative Commons

Crews in Chicago are on the hunt for Asian carp this week. The term Asian carp refers to two species: bighead and silver carp. The crews are looking for the carp in Lake Calumet, which is linked by a river to Lake Michigan. Asian carp have been found in the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan from Illinois.

John Rogner is the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re looking for live carp after finding carp DNA in Lake Calumet.

He says it could mean there are live Asian carp in the lake.

“But there are some other possibilities. One is that there is DNA that comes upstream from downriver from boat hulls; it might be coming from restaurants in parts of Chicago that come out through the storm sewers.”

Some restaurants in the city serve Asian carp, so waste water could contain DNA from the fish. Rogner says people could also be releasing live carp into the lake, even though that’s illegal.

He says so far this week, they have not found any live bighead or silver carp in Lake Calumet.

Arts/Culture
11:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Flint Jazz Festival this weekend

Jazz Yellow 2 - jazz poster
user: echoaa23 flickr

The 2011 Flint Jazz Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Riverbank Park this weekend.

The event will begin with a Jazz Walk from 6 -11 p.m. Thursday.

Greg Fiedler is with the Greater Flint Arts Council.

"We created something entirely new called Jazz Walk, and the Jazz Walk is fashioned sort of as our famous Flint Art Walk that we do every month. Only the difference is that Jazz Walk is going to be in the pubs downtown and we’re in six of the local pubs."

Fiedler also says every year the festival celebrates the jazz drummer and founder of the festival, Joe Freyre. This year his nephew -- who has the same name -- will headline with Freyre’s former band, The People's Jazz Band.

The festival is charging admission for the first time. Fielder explains with corporate sponsorships decreasing, it is important for the community to begin investing in its major annual events.   

Admission is $2 per day or $5 for a three-day pass.

The festival runs through Sunday.

Traci Currie, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment
10:41 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Koi herpesvirus shows up in wild Michigan fish

Koi are susceptible to koi herpesvirus, and so are carp and goldfish. Officials want to study whether native Michigan fish, such as minnows, are also at risk.
Photo by Flickr user: eye of einstein

State officials say they’ve discovered a virus for the first time in wild fish in Michigan. It’s called koi herpesvirus.

Gary Whelan is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

He says the virus might have contributed to the death of several hundred common carp in Kent Lake last June. Whelan says the virus is known to affect common carp, goldfish and koi. And it can be fatal.

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Environment
10:25 am
Thu August 4, 2011

EPA asks Enbridge for missing data

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the company responsible for last year’s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River for information they say is missing. Last summer an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured, releasing more than 840,000 gallons of tar sands oil. Cleanup is still underway.

Last spring after the snow and ice melted, cleanup efforts on the Kalamazoo River really ramped up. The EPA came up with a plan to monitor air quality. The agency directed Enbridge to collect air samples to look for contaminants that could have been stirred up during the spring cleaning. Enbridge also was supposed to collect weather data so the EPA knew the conditions when the samples were taken.

Ralph Dollhopf heads EPA’s Incident Command for the Enbridge spill. He says some of that weather data is missing.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing but we want to make sure that we understand the complete situation.”

Dollhopf says they’re asking Enbridge to supply the missing data or explain why it’s missing.

Marshall resident Susan Connolly says she’s disappointed, but not surprised the data Enbridge is responsible for gathering could be missing.

“That would be just like letting a pedophile babysit a child. I mean why would you let the person that caused the pipeline to spill to be the ones to monitor?"

The EPA oversees the cleanup.

An Enbridge spokesman says the company has not received the EPA’s notice yet so he declined to comment for now.

Commentary
9:49 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Debt debate aftermath

Well, the great battle over the federal debt limit is over, at least for now. For the last several weeks, most of us seem to have been arguing over this, whether or not we understood it.

This came just months after the great battle in Lansing over Governor Snyder’s budget cuts. Now that these momentous issues have been decided, we can move on to more interesting debates.

Such as, for example, how long it will be before Justin Verlander pitches another no-hitter. But seriously, there’s a tendency to think that now that all these budget cuts have been passed we don’t have to worry any more.

The unpleasant truth is that the effects of all these changes haven’t really started, on either the national, state or local levels.

We’ll begin to see some of the consequences this fall, when our kids go back to public schools with fewer teachers and fewer programs. Some of my students at Wayne State are already howling over their higher tuition and fee payments.

We don’t have any idea yet of the social costs of cutting people permanently off welfare. If the governor’s tax cuts produce a fast bumper crop of new jobs, and some of these long-term unemployed are hired, great. If that doesn’t pan out, we’ll all be in trouble.

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Media
7:50 am
Thu August 4, 2011

In the digital age, social media is changing the way the media gathers information

Facebook is just one way that media organizations are asking you for information about the news
Jurveston Flickr

You’ve probably seen news outlets asking for your opinion, or asking you to share your story with them. More and more, media outlets are asking YOU for your personal stories to help them tell the news. Michigan Radio’s Changing Gears project has recently started trying it out with the Public Insight Network. It’s all about using social media to reach out to you. The goal is to tell a more compelling news story because it includes examples and real-life experiences.

To find out more about this trend in information-gathering and whether or not it's a good thing for a news-consumer, we caught up with Cliff Lampe, an assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Auto
7:25 am
Thu August 4, 2011

CEO of Chrysler says new fuel standards are doable

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne (far right)
Chrysler Group Flickr

The head of Chrysler and Fiat says the U.S. auto industry can meet tough new fuel efficiency requirements.  The tentative proposal will more than double the miles per gallon average for cars by the year 2025.

Federal officials, automakers, and the UAW agreed to raise the average miles per gallon to 54-and-a-half within the next 14 years. Right now, the average is 25 miles per gallon.  Critics say the new goal may not be technically feasible.  But Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne thinks it is:

"The powertrain guys...  are an incredible resource, an incredible talent.  Let them do their job."

But Marchionne is a skeptic when it comes to the role electric cars will play in meeting the new requirement.  He thinks it will be easier and cheaper to dramatically improve gasoline engines and transmissions.

Education
6:51 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Snyder announces members to new Education Achievement System

Woodley Wonderworks Flickr

Governor Snyder has announced the appointment of 11 people to the board of the new Education Achievement System. Back in June, Snyder announced the creation of the EAS which will take over and run Michigan’s lowest performing schools, beginning in Detroit.

From the Associated Press:

Two members were appointed by the Detroit Public Schools, two by Eastern Michigan University and seven by the governor.

The Detroit school appointees are emergency financial manager, Roy Roberts and Detroit Parents Network director Sharlotta Buckman.

The Eastern Michigan appointees are American Electric Power chief Mike Morris and university regent Jim Stapleton.

The gubernatorial appointees are Detroit Medical Center chief Mike Duggan, Skillman Foundation chief Carol Goss, the Rev. Joseph Jordan of Hamtramck's Corinthian Baptist Church, Meijer president Mark Murray, VITEC chief William Pickard, New Detroit chief Shirley Stancato and Lansing Community College associate vice president Judith Berry.

The Education Achievement System will begin in the 2012-2013 school year.

Auto
6:39 am
Thu August 4, 2011

UAW President: Relationship with Detroit automakers has improved

Pobrecito33 Flickr

United Auto Workers President Bob King says the relationship between the union and Detroit car companies has dramatically improved.  That could help the two sides reach an agreement more quickly in ongoing contract talks.  And King hopes it will help him sell the value of his union to foreign auto companies in the U.S.

The UAW is a third the size if was in 1979 mostly due to the downsizing of the Detroit Three.  Future hiring by Detroit car companies will likely be modest.  So the UAW wants to unionize foreign auto companies in the U.S. 

Union President Bob King says most of the companies have agreed to meet with his group.  He says the union needs to overcome strong anti-union sentiment, and convince the companies that the new UAW wants to help them be profitable.

“Probably the biggest question in their mind is, is this for real, is this a passing fancy with the UAW or is this for real?”

Prolonged and contentious contract talks could throw a monkey wrench in the unions’ plans to try to unionize a foreign automaker.  But King and Detroit automakers say they’re negotiating in a spirit of cooperation.

Politics
6:21 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Poll: Many local leaders say Mich. on wrong track

After seeing lawmakers cut their funding and give financial managers sweeping new powers, half of local government leaders say they think Michigan is on the wrong track while a third saying it's headed in the right direction.

The survey released Thursday by The Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan also shows 37 percent give Gov. Rick Snyder a positive job rating while just 21 percent give that rating to the Legislature.

Eighty-six percent say their own governments are going in the right direction.

The biannual survey was conducted from April 18 to June 10 and is based on responses from 69 percent of the 1,856 local government units in Michigan. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

Culture
1:39 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Young people promise to march “until love is equal” in Holland

About 150 people marched through downtown Holland Wednesday demanding equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A group of young people marched through Holland Wednesday night to protest a vote city council made in June against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws.

These laws would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their houses because they are gay or transgender. Federal and state laws protect people from discrimination – but not based on a person’s sexuality or gender identity. The debate in Holland has not died with that vote.

About 150 people marched as part of an ongoing effort to demand Holland City Council change its decision. The march was organized to show young people in Holland support the effort.

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Economy
1:01 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Detroit home sale prices may soon flirt with record lows

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Detroit home prices are on track to break their record lows this fall.   Detroit home prices are nearly 80% below where they were in 2005.   That’s actually a slight improvement.     Clear Capitol says Detroit home prices bottomed out in the first quarter of 2009, at the worst of the recession.

But Clear Capitol’s Alex Villacorta says sharp declines in home prices during the last three months and the weakening economy may push prices back down this fall. 

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Investigative
5:10 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Death penalty overturned in 1997 murder case

Marvin Gabrion was convicted of killing 19-year-old Rachel Timmerman in 1997. Gabrion was given the death penalty because the victim's body was found on a lake on federal property. Michigan does not have the death penalty.
ccadp.org

A federal appeals court has overturned a death sentence for a Michigan man  convicted of drowning a young woman. He killed her to prevent her from pursuing a rape case against him.

Marvin Gabrion was convicted in 2002 of killing 19-year-old Rachel Timmerman.

Her body was found in a lake in Manistee National Forest in 1997.

Gabrion was sentenced to death because the body was found on federal property. Michigan does not have a death penalty.

David Moran is clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Glenn announces bid for U.S. Senate

Another Republican has announced he will run against Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in next year’s election.

Gary Glenn is president of the Michigan chapter of the conservative American Family Association.  

The 53-year-old from Midland says his views on a variety of issues are very different from Senator Stabenow’s.

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Environment
4:51 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

AP: Virus may have contributed to Kent Lake fish kill

Michigan officials say a virus may have contributed to a June Kent Lake fish kill
User jamieca Flickr

Michigan officials say a fish virus may have contributed to a June fish kill of 300 to 500 common carp in
Kent Lake.

The state Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that samples taken from the lake in Livingston and Oakland counties detected the presence of koi herpesvirus.

State officials say it's the first time the virus has been found in wild fish samples in Michigan. It was detected in a private koi pond near Grand Rapids in 2003.

The DNR says the virus has been seen before in large-scale common carp die-offs in Ontario, Canada, in 2007 and 2008.

The virus affects common carp, goldfish and koi. The state says there are no human health effects.

Arts/Culture
3:28 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Artpod: From the "extraordinary to the seemingly mundane" - an audio tour of the Stearns Collection

One of the many shelves inside the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

The Cincinnati Art Museum recently discovered it had a long lost treasure trove of rare instruments in its possession. More than 800 antique instruments just sitting in storage…unused and pretty much forgotten.

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Education
3:27 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Detroit school board President resigns

Anthony Adams

The President of the Detroit Board of Education has resigned his position.

Anthony Adams’ resignation note states “I resign my position with deep regret,” but doesn’t give further details.

The note does mention Adams’ route to school board President as a write-in candidate, and his time as Detroit Public Schools General Counsel from 2002-2005.

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Politics
3:19 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Wayne State defends tuition hike, may face budget cut

User dctennis Flickr

Michigan State and Wayne State universities could face budget sanctions for violating tuition restraints. 

Wayne State officials were called in to testify today before a legislative subcommittee.

Wayne State officials said there was no intent to evade tuition restraints, echoing a similar claim by MSU officials when they were called in to testify earlier this summer.

Most public universities increased their fall rates at or below the 7% cap set by the Legislature compared to tuition set for the fall term of last year. But MSU and Wayne State compared their fall tuitions to summer rates, which had just been increased.

That did not sit well with state House universities budget chair Bob Genetski. 

 “This has been really unpleasant for everybody and our intent was really to protect Michigan families from tuition increases and, uh, our relationship’s been damaged.”

“They know that the very spirit of the legislation has been violated and that our efforts to protect kids in tuition-paying families were violated, as well.”

Genetski says he hopes MSU and Wayne State will reconsider their tuition hikes. If not, Genetski says he’d support going back and cutting state funding for the two schools even more.

Commentary
11:48 am
Wed August 3, 2011

School Accreditation Based on Standardized Test Scores?

The Detroit Tigers may win the American League pennant this year, and I don’t like that one bit. It reminds me, in fact, of one of the reasons that our schools are so screwed up.

If that doesn’t seem to make any sense, hang with me for a moment. First of all, I grew up a huge Tigers fan, and can still remember everything about the World Series-winning 1968 team.

But this year, while Detroit has been in first place for much of the last month, it doesn’t mean as much. The teams are divided into many divisions now, so there can be more winners.

It is likely that the second-place team in the more powerful Eastern division will end up winning more games than the first-place team in the Central. To me, that isn’t right, and means a tainted first place finish. Now, what does that have to do with our schools? Simply this. Virtually all Michigan public schools are accredited by the state.

Accreditation ought to mean some guarantee that a school is doing what it should, that you can put your child in it and  expect that he or she will get a proper education.

Provided, of course, you do your part as a parent.

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