Lindsey Smith http://michiganradio.org en Public can tell state review team what they think about Benton Harbor schools’ finances tonight http://michiganradio.org/post/public-can-tell-state-review-team-what-they-think-about-benton-harbor-schools-finances-tonight <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A state review team is hosting a public meeting today in Benton Harbor. The six-member team is trying to determine if Benton Harbor Area Schools is in financial stress.</span></p><p>The Benton Harbor school district has been running a deficit since 2006. It's cut costs, but at the same time, it also has low-performing schools that need to improve test scores to meet state and federal standards. Plus, it’s lost students every year.</p><p>It’s already closed buildings, privatized support services and gotten concessions in wages and benefits from teachers.</p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:49:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18391 at http://michiganradio.org Public can tell state review team what they think about Benton Harbor schools’ finances tonight State superintendent invites charter authorizers, advocates to meet privately this month http://michiganradio.org/post/state-superintendent-invites-charter-authorizers-advocates-meet-privately-month <p>Michigan’s schools superintendent wants to meet with charter school authorizers and advocacy groups this month as he figures out a way to hold them more accountable.</p><p>The vast m<a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Schools_by_Authorizer_396738_7.pdf">ajority of Michigan’s charter schools are set up</a> by Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Bay Mills Community College.</p><p>Earlier this month <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140--332521--,00.html">State Superintendent Mike Flanagan warned these and other entities</a>, known as charter school authorizers, that he was not going to allow them to open new schools if their existing schools “do not measure up.”</p><p>Flanagan is concerned some charter authorizers aren’t being held accountable for the schools they run, academically or financially.</p><p>A state Department of Education spokesman said charter authorizers and other interested parties were invited to meet privately with Flanagan later this month to discuss his concerns.</p><p>Authorizers have come under scrutiny in the wake of a big investigative report the Detroit Free Press published earlier this month.</p><p>The report found some charter schools run by for-profit management companies aren’t transparent about how they spend taxpayer money.</p><p>Flanagan said the report and a meeting he had with charter advocates earlier this year have prompted him to make charter authorizers more accountable for the schools they set up.</p><p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:55:41 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18371 at http://michiganradio.org State superintendent invites charter authorizers, advocates to meet privately this month Whirlpool looks to acquire controlling stake in Italian appliance maker for $1 billion http://michiganradio.org/post/whirlpool-looks-acquire-controlling-stake-italian-appliance-maker-1-billion <p>Michigan-based Whirlpool has entered into an agreement to buy a controlling stake in an Italian appliance maker.</p><p>Whirlpool is expected to spend $1 billion to purchase more than two-thirds of the voting stock of Indesit,<a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whirlpool-enters-into-agreements-to-acquire-majority-interest-in-indesit-2014-07-10"> the company announced last night.</a> The Italian based company employs 16,000 people. It sells appliances mostly in Western Europe under the name brands of Indesit, Hotpoint and Scholtès.</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:28:50 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18344 at http://michiganradio.org Whirlpool looks to acquire controlling stake in Italian appliance maker for $1 billion Another proposed development, another controversy in Saugatuck duneland http://michiganradio.org/post/another-proposed-development-another-controversy-saugatuck-duneland <p>Another proposed development in the coastal sand dunes along Lake Michigan is causing some controversy in Saugatuck. Opponents will ask state officials to reject a permit request at a hearing tonight.</p><p>They’d like to scale back a project that’ll turn a nearly century-old church campground into a private development for 12 beachfront homes.</p><p>Dave Barker is one of the developers. He says the homes would sit only on a small portion of the property, which includes 130 acres of duneland along Lake Michigan.</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18192 at http://michiganradio.org Another proposed development, another controversy in Saugatuck duneland Former Palisades workers claim retaliation for raising concerns http://michiganradio.org/post/former-palisades-workers-claim-retaliation-raising-concerns <p>Former workers at the Palisades nuclear plant are accusing management of lying to regulators about attempts to fix a work environment where managers put a chill on critical feedback from employees.&nbsp;</p><p>Thursday&nbsp;night’s meeting to review Palisades' performance last year started out pretty typically.</p><p>Regulators<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/nuclear-regulators-flag-concerns-over-safety-culture-among-security-officers-palisades"> noted a survey that found security officers fear retaliation if they raise certain concerns.</a></p><p>Company officials got a chance to respond. Otto Gustafson, Director of Regulatory and Performance Improvement at Palisades, said management is taking the concerns very seriously and outlined a plan to correct the problem.&nbsp;</p><p>But then Chris Malich stepped to the microphone during the public comment portion of the meeting and called Gustafson and other officials out.</p><p>“I’ve seen it over and over,” Malich told regulators, “They’ve said things are going to change, things are going to change, and they stay the same.” Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:15:06 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18182 at http://michiganradio.org Former Palisades workers claim retaliation for raising concerns Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-has-lots-do-charter-company-departs <p>Mosaica Education, the charter company running Muskegon Heights schools, only has a few days left in its contract. But the district still has lots to do to get everything in place for the fall.</p><p>Last night the district hired its superintendent at a special board meeting. But it still has to finalize agreements with a staffing agency to hire all of its teachers and few other vendors by Monday.</p><p>This summer it has to finish building repairs, and rearrange all the grade levels because an elementary school building will close.</p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:27:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18155 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs Michigan puts prison food service company prisoners on notice: Get it together ... or else http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-puts-prison-food-service-company-prisoners-notice-get-it-together-or-else <p>Michigan’s Department of Corrections says problems with Aramark, the company that provides inmates their meals, have the potential to compromise safety and security in the state's prisons.</p><p>Food service was privatized at Michigan’s 31 prisons in December, saving roughly $16 million a year.</p><p>“Literally from a Saturday to a Sunday it transitioned to 360 contractor workers who, in many cases, had never been inside a correctional facility,” Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. “So we expected some problems, we expected some issues.”</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:56:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18137 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan puts prison food service company prisoners on notice: Get it together ... or else Review team to determine what district already knows: Benton Harbor schools in financial stress http://michiganradio.org/post/review-team-determine-what-district-already-knows-benton-harbor-schools-financial-stress <p>Benton Harbor Area Schools has taken the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/benton-harbor-schools-danger-not-making-payroll-state-reopens-financial-review">next step in process </a>that could result in an emergency manager.</p><p>Gov. Rick Snyder announced today his appointment of a six-member review team. The team has 60 days to determine if the district is in financial stress.</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 21:45:07 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18117 at http://michiganradio.org Review team to determine what district already knows: Benton Harbor schools in financial stress Two meetings this week to discuss Palisades nuclear plant’s performance last year http://michiganradio.org/post/two-meetings-week-discuss-palisades-nuclear-plant-s-performance-last-year <p>People will get two opportunities this week to hear how the Palisades nuclear plant is doing. <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/timeline-8-shutdowns-palisades-nuclear-power-plant-past-2-years">Palisades was recently listed as one of the worst-performing plants in the country.</a></p><p>Regulators have raised the plant's official safety rating, but they say the safety culture among security staff still needs to improve.</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18091 at http://michiganradio.org Two meetings this week to discuss Palisades nuclear plant’s performance last year Former Kent County commissioner to serve a year in jail for sex crimes against minor http://michiganradio.org/post/former-kent-county-commissioner-serve-year-jail-sex-crimes-against-minor <p></p><p>A former Kent County commissioner will spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.</p><p>Gary Rolls resigned his county commission seat earlier this year. He was accused of beginning a sexual relationship with a girl when she was nine. She's now in her late 20s.</p><p>Rolls said nothing before he was sentenced Thursday afternoon. &nbsp;</p><p>In a statement, the victim told the judge Rolls used his position in power to threaten her.</p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:46:22 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18080 at http://michiganradio.org Former Kent County commissioner to serve a year in jail for sex crimes against minor Light rail project in Detroit wants more federal funds, or faces changes http://michiganradio.org/post/light-rail-project-detroit-wants-more-federal-funds-or-faces-changes <p>Leaders of a <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/m-1-rail">light passenger rail line project being constructed in Detroit </a>are looking for another $12 million from the federal government. If they don’t get it, the project may have to be scaled back or redesigned, or they may have to spend money that’s set aside for operating the line once it’s up and running.</p><p><a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140618/METRO01/306180024">The Detroit News uncovered the plea</a> for more federal funds in a letter from a handful of Michigan congressmen and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin.</p><p>Officials from Levin and Stabenow's offices forwarded Michigan Radio <a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/michigan/files/201406/M-1_Rail_TIGER_Grant_Support_Letter_5-1-14.pdf?__utma=227721857.1417651242.1402594183.1403114799.1403116933.15&amp;__utmb=227721857.90.5.1403118790359&amp;__utmc=227721857&amp;__utmx=-&amp;__utmz=227721857.1402594183.1.1.utmcsr=l.facebook.com|utmccn=%28referral%29|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/l.php&amp;__utmv=-&amp;__utmk=259732105">a copy of the letter</a>, but declined requests for comment.</p><p>In it, elected leaders say without the $12 million grant "this important project will be delayed indefinitely, and we fear the resulting costs could make the project unaffordable." Wed, 18 Jun 2014 19:38:29 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18059 at http://michiganradio.org Light rail project in Detroit wants more federal funds, or faces changes Emergency manager says new arrangement at Muskegon Heights schools will be more economical http://michiganradio.org/post/emergency-manager-says-new-arrangement-muskegon-heights-schools-will-be-more-economical <p>Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager thinks a new setup to run the district next year will be more economical than hiring another charter company.</p><p>For the last two years, a<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company"> for-profit company ran Muskegon Heights schools.</a> But it ran into <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million">cash flow problems. </a>The state had to give the district<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-system-continues-its-struggle-meet-payroll-asks-state-more-money"> two cash advances this spring</a> to pay staff and <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-running-out-money-lend-schools-financial-distress">give it an emergency loan to keep schools open </a>through the end of the school year. &nbsp;</p><p>“We are in a survival mode,” Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager Gregory Weatherspoon said at a press conference Tuesday. “We will go for whatever will work and save us money and this was a cost savings to us,” he said. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:28:38 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18046 at http://michiganradio.org Emergency manager says new arrangement at Muskegon Heights schools will be more economical Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-rejects-profit-charter-bids-favor-some-local-control <p><strong>Updated: <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/emergency-manager-says-new-arrangement-muskegon-heights-schools-will-be-more-economical">Emergency manager says new arrangement will be more economical than charter school company</a></strong></p><p>Muskegon Heights schools will not hire another for-profit charter company to run the district. Instead, the district plans to hire its own superintendent, a staffing company and the intermediate school district in Muskegon County to run schools for the next three years.</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 12:03:19 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18030 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control Lawmakers make another attempt to regulate “large scale” dog breeders http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmakers-make-another-attempt-regulate-large-scale-dog-breeders <p></p><p><a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billanalysis/House/pdf/2013-HLA-5095-BBA524A7.pdf">A bill that’s working its way through the state House</a> would make large-scale dog breeders register with the state. “Large scale” would be any breeder with 15 or more female dogs used for breeding puppies.</p> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17997 at http://michiganradio.org Lawmakers make another attempt to regulate “large scale” dog breeders Same-sex couple from Grand Rapids sues to get state to recognize out-of-state marriage http://michiganradio.org/post/same-sex-couple-grand-rapids-sues-get-state-recognize-out-state-marriage <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmpbMvxlgpA</p><p><em>Governor Rick Snyder's statement after a federal court overturns Michigan's ban on same sex marriage in March 2014. </em></p> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:35:10 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17982 at http://michiganradio.org State leaders question oversight role when charter companies run entire school districts http://michiganradio.org/post/state-leaders-question-oversight-role-when-charter-companies-run-entire-school-districts <p>State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the consequences of turning&nbsp;entire school districts over to for-profit charter school companies deserves more consideration from state lawmakers.</p><p>Flanagan told a state panel last week it’s not clear if the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/muskegon-heights-school-district">Muskegon Heights school district</a>, or the for-profit charter company that ran it the last two years, will face any consequences for running up a deficit big enough to require an emergency loan worth $1.4 million and two cash advances to keep schools open through June. It’s unclear exactly what the deficit is for the 2013-2014 school year.</p><p>The Muskegon Heights school district is now looking for a new operator. That’s after the district and its emergency manager <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company">agreed to end its contract with Mosaica Education Inc.</a> when the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million">company couldn’t turn a profit.</a></p><p>“Now that (Mosaica) is leaving, they pretty much told us they’re not going to do (the district’s) deficit elimination plan. To follow up on that, we should wait for the new management company and deal with them,” Dan Hanrahan, Michigan Department of Education’s director of state aid and school finance, told the panel. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 14:34:45 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17910 at http://michiganradio.org State leaders question oversight role when charter companies run entire school districts NRC chairwoman tours Michigan nuclear plants, downplays internal strife within agency http://michiganradio.org/post/nrc-chairwoman-tours-michigan-nuclear-plants-downplays-internal-strife-within-agency <p>The head of the nation’s nuclear regulatory agency toured two nuclear plants in southwest Michigan Friday.</p><p>NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane wanted to see how the plants are doing in the wake of the disaster at a nuclear plant in Japan. Congressman Fred Upton joined Macfarlane for the visits to the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant and the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, both of which are located in his district.</p><p>Nuclear regulators are requiring plants to upgrade equipment and emergency plans that take into account the meltdown of the Fukushima plant in 2011.</p> Sat, 07 Jun 2014 11:57:27 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17902 at http://michiganradio.org NRC chairwoman tours Michigan nuclear plants, downplays internal strife within agency Someone give this guy a gold star: Congressman Amash marks 2,500 consecutive votes http://michiganradio.org/post/someone-give-guy-gold-star-congressman-amash-marks-2500-consecutive-votes <p></p><p>Michigan Congressman Justin Amash never gets sick. His car never breaks down and he doesn't take off work for doctor's appointments.<br /><br />OK, that’s probably an exaggeration.</p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 21:20:24 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17869 at http://michiganradio.org Someone give this guy a gold star: Congressman Amash marks 2,500 consecutive votes Michigan gets ready for EPA's proposed carbon rules http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-gets-ready-epas-proposed-carbon-rules <p>On Monday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency released the <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/20140602proposal-cleanpowerplan.pdf">federal government’s plan </a>to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The agency's calling it the "Clean Power Plan."</p><p>The EPA says carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of climate change. The agency is&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">proposing a 30% reduction in CO2 from power plants by 2030. Here's what EPA says about the proposed regulations:</span></p><blockquote><p>Climate change is not just a problem for the future. We are facing its impacts today:</p><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="238.70319430887218" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 180.033px; top: 905.717px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.907962, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">Average temperatures have risen in most states since 1901, with seven of the top 10 warmest years on record occurring since 1998.</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="238.70319430887218" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 180.033px; top: 905.717px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.907962, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">&nbsp;</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="679.1071838088227" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 180.033px; top: 936.517px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.915733, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">&nbsp;</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="679.1071838088227" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 180.033px; top: 936.517px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.915733, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion.</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="8.463999798202513" data-font-name="g_font_21_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 90px; top: 963.675px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.651077, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">&nbsp;</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="191.32319543849948" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 476.083px; top: 1077.17px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.935108, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">Nationwide, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="23.75439943365097" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 440.283px; top: 1102.97px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.928511, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">&nbsp;from the power sector by approximately 30 per cent from 2005 levels. It</div><div data-angle="0" data-canvas-width="240.48799426631928" data-font-name="g_font_5_0" dir="ltr" style="font-size: 18.4px; font-family: sans-serif; left: 231.033px; top: 1128.57px; transform: rotate(0deg) scale(0.907673, 1); transform-origin: 0% 0% 0px;">&nbsp;will also reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent.</div></blockquote><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Policymakers at the state level and the state’s major power companies don’t seem surprised by the news.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:50:32 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17836 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan gets ready for EPA's proposed carbon rules Workgroup starts crafting Michigan’s new energy policy this week http://michiganradio.org/post/workgroup-starts-crafting-michigan-s-new-energy-policy-week <p>State law forces power companies to get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by next year. It’s a target they’re expected to meet.</p><p>The state issued a report <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-could-get-30-its-energy-renewable-sources">last year that shows companies could get as much at 30% by 2035</a>. But there’s no law that requires that, yet. It’s something a workgroup will consider as it works this summer to update Michigan’s energy policy.</p><p>State Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) will help lead the group.</p> Sun, 01 Jun 2014 17:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17813 at http://michiganradio.org Workgroup starts crafting Michigan’s new energy policy this week