Law
8:26 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Michigan's medical schools need more cadavers; law would make donation easier

LANSING – Any accredited Michigan medical school could receive dead body donations under legislation being considered in the state House.

Residents now can donate their bodies to one of three older medical schools, which allocate some donations to other schools and hospitals. But Michigan's new medical schools want to receive bodies independently to promote donations in their areas and streamline the process.

The number of medical schools in Michigan doubled from three to six in recent years, largely in response to a shortage of doctors in many areas of the state.

Law
9:09 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Schuette asks for fast action on gay marriage case

“The sooner we have a more thoughtful and complete and full review of this case, I think the better off everybody is, but I think we want a resolution on it,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a conference call.
Credit Michigan Attorney General

  State Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to put the legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage on a fast track. Schuette is defending Michigan’s ban.

Schuette’s filed a motion with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to skip a hearing before a three judge panel and go directly to the entire 15-judge court. That could shave months, maybe as much as a year, off the appeals process. Schuette says the question needs to settled regardless of who wins in the end. 

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Soccer
8:58 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Big-time soccer coming to The Big House

University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, center, and Manchester United Communications Director Phil Townsend, far left, pose with event organizers.
Credit Steve Carmody

Two of the world's biggest soccer teams are officially coming to Ann Arbor. English champions Manchester United will play Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Big House on Aug.  2. The match is part of an off-season tournament that follows the World Cup in Brazil.

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Business
5:15 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

ACSI: Economy all dressed up, with no place to go

graph showing 20 years of customer satisfaction
ACSI University of Michigan

Customer satisfaction hit a 20-year high, in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index tracks how happy people are with their shopping, buying and consumption experiences.

On a scale of 100, the index read 76.8 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Claus Fornell says one reason for the result is the recession and the slow economy that followed made it harder to find and win customers. 

So companies, and their employees, especially those in the service sector, are trying harder to please their customers.

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It's Just Politics
2:53 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Will POTUS visits, petition drive help turn out Obama voters?

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

President Obama was in Ann Arbor this week at the University of Michigan to throw his Democratic base some red meat* by stumping for the minimum wage. He called on Congress to pass legislation to boost the national minimum wage and he also endorsed a petition drive under way in Michigan to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of the U.S. Senate in 2014 rest largely with keeping the seat that Sen. Carl Levin is retiring from later this year. Republicans appear to be in good shape come November because their voters are typically more likely to turn out in the off cycle, and because the party out of the White House typically does well in midterm elections.

Republicans also think they can win by relentlessly reminding the public of Obamacare. But what if Democrats can jujitsu that? That’s the political point of these presidential visits.

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Arts & Culture
2:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

U of M a cappella group in final 4 in international competition

The G-Men
Credit Virginia Gordan

A University of Michigan group is one of four finalists  – and the only team from the state – in the 2014 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). 

The 14-member group is called the G-Men, short for "gentlemen."

Apoorv Dhir is the group's president and a pre-med U of M junior. "The best thing about this group is how close we are, and how much we love each other," he said. "We're good at singing and we enjoy performing. But the best thing about this group is that we are best friends."

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Opinion
12:41 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Cowardly politicians hope you think they are fixing our roads

There was a lot of rejoicing yesterday over a new plan to fix Michigan’s roads.

House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, is proposing coming up with $400 million a year in new money.

House Republicans say they can do that without raising taxes. Gov. Snyder, off in Europe on a trade mission, sent word that he thinks this is “a great first step” toward better roads.

Even a spokesperson for the Democrats indicated they thought “some of the elements of the plan make sense and are a good start.”

Well, excuse me, but they are wrong. Almost all wrong.

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Economy
12:26 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

University of Michigan says licensees must follow safety pact

Photo from the the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan says it will require companies that make licensed products at factories in Bangladesh to meet worker safety standards.

President Mary Sue Coleman announced this week that licensees must either sign and abide by the worker safety initiative or demonstrate that they have an equivalent safety plan.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a five-year agreement between apparel manufacturers and trade unions. It was developed in response to a 2013 factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people in Bangladesh.

The Michigan Daily reports Coleman's announcement came a day after a protest in the Fleming Administration Building.

According to a news release from Michigan, the Ann Arbor school becomes the 10th university to add the accord to its licensing requirements.

Transportation
11:25 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Seven mile stretch of I-96 will be completely closed starting tomorrow

Map showing where I-96 will be closed starting tomorrow.
Image by Mark Brush Map from MDOT

Construction crews will soon start working on the long stretch of highway east of I-275 that connects Detroit with outlying areas. Officials say the highway will be closed for six months. The project was originally scheduled to get underway in January, but weather delayed the start.

The freeway will be closed starting tomorrow at 7 a.m. Ramps will begin to close tonight starting at 7 p.m.

Transportation officials have put together a website to inform motorists, and they have been counting down the days on their Twitter handle:

More about the $148 million project from their website:

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reconstructing a 7-mile stretch of I-96 from Newburgh Road in the city of Livonia to Telegraph Road in Redford Township. It will require complete closure of the interstate ... Work includes reconstructing the road and repairing 37 bridges, including on and off ramps. The project will bring the corridor to current design standards and improve safety. Clearances at the 37 bridges/overpasses also will be increased to improve safety.

Go here for more information about other major construction projects around the state.

*A previous post reflected the estimated closure time listed on MDOT's website - 7-12 months. An MDOT official said they expect the highway to be closed 6 months. The post is now updated.

Politics & Government
10:04 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Oakland Co. takes step toward ditching DWSD

Relations between Detroit and its suburban water customers have long been strained, a dynamic that's continued under Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Credit Bart / Flickr

A resolution making its way through the Oakland County Commission would set aside $3 million to research alternatives to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Right now Oakland County is one of several counties that uses Detroit's system.

But cost issues have strained relations between the department and its suburban customers.

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Sports Commentary
8:33 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Move toward a college football player's union should be a wake-up call for the NCAA

Northwestern's Kain Colter is tackled during a game with Army in 2011. Colter has argued the players should be allowed to form a union.
Credit West Point / Flickr

John U. Bacon offers his thoughts on the decision to allow Northwestern University football players to form a union.

Last week’s ruling made a big splash, but it’s actually very narrow. The decision by the National Labor Relations Board applies only to private schools. Further, the players still have to vote on it, and the university is going to appeal, in any case.

But the players have been very shrewd, starting with their leader, senior quarterback Kain Colter. I got to know him while researching my latest book, and he’s a very impressive young man.   

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Environment & Science
7:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Paperwork coming together to remove White Lake from list of toxic hot spots in Great Lakes region

White Lake is the larger lake pictured. It lies north of Muskegon, Michigan.
Credit Doc Searls / Creative Commons

An inland lake north of Muskegon that was once one of the most polluted places surrounding the Great Lakes is making big progress. Most of the pollution in White Lake was caused by a chemical company that dumped waste into the water decades ago.

Efforts to clean the leftover chemicals from the environment have been underway since the late 1980s.

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Law
6:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Man accused of using fake religious organization to run foreclosure rescue scam

Anthony Carta
Credit Michigan Attorney General's office

Michigan’s Attorney General says a Detroit man defrauded more than 100 people in southeast Michigan with a fake mortgage rescue scam.

Bill Schuette says Anthony Carta ran the scam through a phony religious organization called Freedom by Faith Ministries.

Carta promised homeowners facing foreclosure he’d settle up with their mortgage lenders, for a fee. But he would pocket that money instead.

Carta is accused of stealing more than $300,000 this way. He’s being charged with conducting a criminal enterprise and two other felonies.

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Great Lakes ice cover slows down the shipping season

Credit NOAA

The Detroit Tigers weren't the only ones to hold an Opening Day.

The Great Lakes shipping season officially opened March 25.

And, unlike Opening Day at Comerica Park, this one is much less well attended.

No surprise: The near-total ice coverage on the Great Lakes has led to a very slow start to the shipping season and a whole lot of ice-cutting for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mark Gill is the director of vessel traffic services for the U.S. Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy struggle now affects Water and Sewerage Department

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The spotlight of the Detroit bankruptcy struggle is widening. From the DIA to the retirees and now to water.

As the clock ticks, emergency manager Kevyn Orr has fired the latest salvo in the increasingly testy talks with county representatives over the future of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Phil Cavanagh runs for Wayne County Executive

Credit Facebook

He's been a county commissioner. He's currently in his second term as the state representative for Redford Township – the 10th House district.

Now Phil Cavanagh wants to become the next Wayne County Executive.

Cavanagh became the third candidate to enter the race to replace Robert Ficano as county executive. He joined us today to discuss what compelled him to make this move.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:43 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New book uncovers racism in the auto industry during WWII

Credit http://wsupress.wayne.edu/

There is no question that Detroit and the automobile industry played a major role in the Allied victory over Germany and Japan in World War II. We’ve often heard southeast Michigan described as the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

But not so well known is the struggle it took to turn the auto industry toward war production, particularly as women and African-American workers stepped up to take their places on the assembly lines.

Charles Hyde, professor emeritus of history at Wayne State University, joined us today. His new book is Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II.

Listen to the full interview above.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:41 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate; Camp decides against seeking re-election

Credit user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Each week we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Earlier today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer announced that Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown will be his running mate for the upcoming 2014 election. Brown served two terms in the state House of Representatives and has served as the Oakland County Clerk since 2012, a position long held by Republicans.

Susan Demas indicates the selection of Brown will bolster the ticket because of her name recognition with voters in Southeast Michigan and she resonates well with female voters. 

“Lisa Brown...gained a lot of attention in 2012 with the debate over the controversial abortion legislation, and was known for the ‘vagina-gate’ scandal when she was not allowed to speak on the floor.”

Meanwhile, a fourth member of Michigan’s congressional delegation announced he will not seek re-election. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, will step down, along with Mike Rogers, Carl Levin and John Dingell.

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Stateside
4:39 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New education report shows Michigan is still in "education recession"

Credit user alkruse24 / Flickr

Michigan's economy may be pulling itself up and out of the Great Recession.

But our schools are still mired in an "education recession" and all of our children are paying the price.

That's the finding of the newest state of Michigan education report from The Education Trust-Midwest.

It's an eye-opening exercise to see how our state's schools and student performance compare to two states that are powering ahead in the national assessment: Massachusetts and Tennessee.

What lessons can Michigan learn from those two states?

The co-author of the new education report, Amber Arellano of The Education Trust-Midwest, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:44 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Mark Schauer announces Lisa Brown as his running mate

Mark Schauer and Lisa Brown at today's announcement.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Mark Schauer has made it official. He has chosen Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to be his running mate in this year’s race for governor.

Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, is the likely Democratic challenger to Gov. Rick Snyder in November.

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