Michigan Watch http://michiganradio.org en Detroit's emergency manager on bankruptcy developments http://michiganradio.org/post/detroits-emergency-manager-bankruptcy-developments <p></p><p>On the one-year anniversary of his appointment, Detroit’s emergency manager spoke about the latest developments in the city's bankruptcy in a speech at the University of Michigan.</p><p>One thing in the works is getting a $120 million loan from Barclays of London. A state board approved the loan today. The Detroit City Council also approved the deal, despite concerns that the money might be used to pay big-money bankruptcy consultants. But, emergency manager Kevyn Orr says, ‘not so.’</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:55:45 +0000 Lester Graham 16975 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit's emergency manager on bankruptcy developments Being broke makes Detroit get creative http://michiganradio.org/post/being-broke-makes-detroit-get-creative <p></p><p>Detroit's municipal bankruptcy has made the world aware of what Michigan already knew. Detroit is broke. No matter how it turns out, bankruptcy is not going to change things very quickly. Detroit will still be broke. That’s going to force the city to get creative.</p><p>Let’s get one thing out of the way: the state of Michigan is not going to bail out Detroit.</p><p>And the state of Michigan is not going fully restore revenue sharing from the sales tax with cities such as Detroit.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 16754 at http://michiganradio.org Being broke makes Detroit get creative SLIDESHOW: A day at Detroit's Eastern Market http://michiganradio.org/post/slideshow-day-detroits-eastern-market <p>For many families, Saturdays are about visiting Eastern Market in Detroit.</p><p>A public-private partnership took over the operation of the market from the City of Detroit in 2006.&nbsp; Since then, buildings have been renovated and Eastern Market's popularity has grown.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I visited the market this past weekend and took a few photos. You can click through them above.</span></p><p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 16:59:35 +0000 Lester Graham 16679 at http://michiganradio.org SLIDESHOW: A day at Detroit's Eastern Market 2,500 apply for city of Detroit jobs http://michiganradio.org/post/2500-apply-city-detroit-jobs <p>About 2,500 people showed up to apply for new city of Detroit jobs during a two-day job fair at Cobo Hall on Friday and Saturday.</p><p>On average, more than seven people applied for each job available.</p><p>Michael Hall is Detroit’s Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations.</p><p>“You know, we had 350 jobs that we listed. Anything from a GED to a CPA we’re looking for. So, we’ve had great candidates come through and some of those people will be called back for future interviews,” Hall said.</p> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:32:44 +0000 Lester Graham 16675 at http://michiganradio.org 2,500 apply for city of Detroit jobs A message from the Detroit Policy Conference: Entire state has a stake in Detroit's future http://michiganradio.org/post/message-detroit-policy-conference-entire-state-has-stake-detroits-future <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On Thursday, the Detroit Regional Chamber held a one-day policy conference focused on Detroit after bankruptcy. The theme seemed to be optimism tempered by realism.</span></p><p>With Detroit’s bankruptcy on an apparent fast-track, a new mayor and city council, and progress in several key areas, there was an air of optimism.</p><p>But the Detroit Chamber’s policy conference looked also looked at obstacles.</p><p>Thomas Sugrue is a Detroit native and professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a keynote speaker.</p> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 16:37:53 +0000 Lester Graham 16657 at http://michiganradio.org A message from the Detroit Policy Conference: Entire state has a stake in Detroit's future If Arizona's bill to discriminate surprises you, you won't believe what's legal in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/if-arizonas-bill-discriminate-surprises-you-you-wont-believe-whats-legal-michigan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If the pollsters are right, here’s something you probably don’t know:</span></p><p><em>It’s perfectly legal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. </em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A Gallup poll reported nearly nine out of ten people think </span>LGBT<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> people are already protected.</span></p><p>They are not.</p><p>Actually, Arizona and Michigan are not that different right now.</p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:05:19 +0000 Lester Graham 16623 at http://michiganradio.org If Arizona's bill to discriminate surprises you, you won't believe what's legal in Michigan Detroit's infrastructure crumbling while city has trouble collecting cash http://michiganradio.org/post/detroits-infrastructure-crumbling-while-city-has-trouble-collecting-cash <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The plan to guide Detroit out of bankruptcy includes up to $150 million a year for ten years to repair neglected infrastructure. &nbsp;The city could go a long way in paying for that if it can find a way to collect money already owed to it.</span></p><p>The Compuware World Headquarters building at Campus Martius is a gleaming example of a downtown revival.</p><p>But last week, just down the block, the façade of revival was peeled back for a moment. An old water pipe broke.</p><p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 16535 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit's infrastructure crumbling while city has trouble collecting cash Detroit Emergency Manager to file plan with bankruptcy court this week http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-emergency-manager-file-plan-bankruptcy-court-week <p>This week the City of Detroit’s Emergency Manager is to file a disclosure statement with the federal court overseeing the city’s bankruptcy ahead of the March 1 deadline.</p><p>The plan of adjustment restructuring Detroit’s debt includes a ten year blueprint for the city as part of the 2012 consent agreement with the State of Michigan. The restructuring consultant Conway MacKenzie has been working on that ten year plan.</p><p>Bill Nowling is the spokesperson for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. He says that blueprint will be part of the filing this week.</p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 16457 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit Emergency Manager to file plan with bankruptcy court this week How Detroit Manufacturing Systems hired hundreds of workers in the city http://michiganradio.org/post/how-detroit-manufacturing-systems-hired-hundreds-workers-city <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Detroit's unemployment is high, really high. It's nearly 18%. That’s almost double the Michigan rate of unemployment and Michigan is among the worst in the nation.</span></p><p>So, when a manufacturer hires hundreds of Detroit residents, it gets attention.</p><p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:02:33 +0000 Lester Graham 16284 at http://michiganradio.org How Detroit Manufacturing Systems hired hundreds of workers in the city Detroiters need jobs and Detroit needs taxpayers http://michiganradio.org/post/detroiters-need-jobs-and-detroit-needs-taxpayers <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To successfully emerge from bankruptcy, Detroit has to find ways to cut spending and increase revenue. But that’s not going to be easy when so many Detroit residents are struggling just to get by.</span></p><p>No matter how well bankruptcy goes for Detroit, the city is going nowhere if most of its residents are broke and without jobs.</p><p>No jobs mean no income taxes for the city.</p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 16234 at http://michiganradio.org Detroiters need jobs and Detroit needs taxpayers Will plans to stop Asian carp invasion take too long? http://michiganradio.org/post/will-plans-stop-asian-carp-invasion-take-too-long <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a </span><a href="http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Media/NewsReleases/tabid/3691/Article/20872/corps-submits-report-to-congress-with-alternatives-to-prevent-asian-carp-and-ot.aspx" style="line-height: 1.5;">study</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> about what might be done to keep those invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It took seven years and that was a rush job after some members of Congress accused the Corps of dragging its feet.</span></p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:27:24 +0000 Lester Graham 15950 at http://michiganradio.org Will plans to stop Asian carp invasion take too long? Food industry asks to label genetically engineered ingredients as 'natural' http://michiganradio.org/post/food-industry-asks-label-genetically-engineered-ingredients-natural <p>The food industry wants the government to give the okay for calling&nbsp;products using genetically engineered ingredients “natural” foods.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I went to my local grocery store looking for the term <span style="line-height: 1.5;">“</span>natural<span style="line-height: 1.5;">”</span> or</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> <span style="line-height: 1.5;">“</span>naturally<span style="line-height: 1.5;">”</span> and I didn’t have to go very far.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the cereal aisle I</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;found products labeled “naturally flavored,” “100% natural,” and an “all natural pancake mix.”&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A couple aisles over, looking at the chips there were “all natural”&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">pretzels, “naturally sweet” popcorn, and then there was a drink with&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">a label that read “naturally flavored beverage with other natural&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">flavors blended with vitamins.”</span></p><p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 14:32:22 +0000 Lester Graham 15949 at http://michiganradio.org Food industry asks to label genetically engineered ingredients as 'natural' You could choose your own power company under new legislation http://michiganradio.org/post/you-could-choose-your-own-power-company-under-new-legislation <p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Michigan could deregulate the electricity market, allowing people to choose where they buy electricity.</p><p>In downtown Frankenmuth there are two very popular restaurants: the <a href="http://bavarianinn.com/">Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn</a> and right across the street, <a href="http://www.zehnders.com/dining/zehndersrestaurant.htm">Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth</a>. Both are famous for their chicken dinners. And the owners are cousins -- both of them are Zehnders.</p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 15897 at http://michiganradio.org You could choose your own power company under new legislation Part-time Michigan Legislature could mean more power for bureaucrats and lobbyists http://michiganradio.org/post/part-time-michigan-legislature-could-mean-more-power-bureaucrats-and-lobbyists <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">You might be asked to sign a petition next year to cut Michigan legislators’ pay and make their job part-time. The state constitution will have to be amended to accomplish that.</span></p><p>There could be some unintended consequences in doing that.</p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 13:46:18 +0000 Lester Graham 15671 at http://michiganradio.org Part-time Michigan Legislature could mean more power for bureaucrats and lobbyists Snyder administration to cut program that has saved hundreds of millions in prison costs http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-administration-cut-program-has-saved-hundreds-millions-prison-costs <p></p><p></p><p>The State of Michigan spends a huge part of its budget on prisons. In recent years a new program has helped reduce the prison population and helped prisoners stay out of prison. Despite its success, the state plans to cut much of the program’s funding.</p><p>Some people who’ve been in and out of prison are getting out and staying out thanks to a program called Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative or MPRI.</p><p>“After 33 years of doing time, they finally got it right. And today I’ve got a life. I own my own business. I’m living the American dream and it started at MPRI,” Harry Hampton said.</p><p>Hampton has been in prison four times. When he’s been released before, he got no help. Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:30:57 +0000 Lester Graham 14335 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder administration to cut program that has saved hundreds of millions in prison costs Canadian diplomat says New International Trade Crossing 'is going ahead' http://michiganradio.org/post/canadian-diplomat-says-new-international-trade-crossing-going-ahead <p></p><p></p><p>A Canadian official says construction of a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit can start soon, maybe 2015. &nbsp;It’s just a matter of waiting for some money from the U.S. government.</p><p>While Canada is putting up the money for the bridge, the U.S. has to build a new customs plaza which is expected to cost about 250-million dollars.</p><p>Until then, the Canadian government will continue to negotiate land purchases in and around the Delray neighborhood of Detroit where the New International Trade Crossing will land in the U.S.</p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:38:34 +0000 Lester Graham 13041 at http://michiganradio.org Canadian diplomat says New International Trade Crossing 'is going ahead' How adoption agencies discriminate against hopeful LGBT parents http://michiganradio.org/post/how-adoption-agencies-discriminate-against-hopeful-lgbt-parents <p></p><p>If you’re gay or lesbian and you want to adopt a child, not every adoption agency in Michigan will be willing to help. If you do find an agency that will help, you might run into more discrimination.</p><p>Even if you have a home, pass the background checks, and otherwise meet the state requirements for adoption, you can be turned down by an adoption agency if you don’t meet its standards. Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 12959 at http://michiganradio.org How adoption agencies discriminate against hopeful LGBT parents How judges were stopped from granting two-parent adoptions to gay and lesbian parents http://michiganradio.org/post/how-judges-were-stopped-granting-two-parent-adoptions-gay-and-lesbian-parents <p>About a decade ago, judges stopped approving adoptions for lesbian and gay couples. It stopped after a controversial move by a Supreme Court Judge.</p><p>Nancy Wheeler is a judge in Washtenaw County who used to preside over the juvenile court where adoptions are recognized. She granted dozens of what are called ‘second-parent adoptions’ to same-sex couples.</p><p>“I thought that it was an outrage that we encouraged and, in fact, had a lot of gay and lesbian foster parents, but didn’t allow both parties to adopt the children. So, these children had been in foster care with these same parents sometimes for a number of years and then they were adopted by one,” Judge Wheeler explained.</p><p>She reasoned if one person could be an adoptive parent, then two could. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 12958 at http://michiganradio.org How judges were stopped from granting two-parent adoptions to gay and lesbian parents For gay and lesbian families in Michigan, one parent is left out http://michiganradio.org/post/gay-and-lesbian-families-michigan-one-parent-left-out <p>In Michigan, if you’re gay or lesbian, you can’t get married.</p><p>And for LGBT partners who adopt children it’s nearly impossible for both to have parental rights. That causes legal difficulties in providing a secure future for the kids they’re raising.</p><p>Two-year-old Lucas has two dads, Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez.</p><p>Diego is an airline pilot, and Kent works at Michigan State University.</p><p>“We’ve been together just over ten years. And we married in a religious ceremony five years ago and just legally married in Washington, D.C.," said Kent.</p><p>Kent and Diego are the only parents Lucas has ever known. But, the State of Michigan does not recognize one of them as a parent. Mon, 10 Jun 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 12957 at http://michiganradio.org For gay and lesbian families in Michigan, one parent is left out Craft cocktail movement helping Michigan distilleries http://michiganradio.org/post/craft-cocktail-movement-helping-michigan-distilleries <blockquote><p>My Michigan Martini (recipe by Lester Graham)</p><p>5 parts Knickerbocker gin</p><p>1 part Vya Extra Dry vermouth</p><p>1 dash Fee Brothers orange bitters</p><p>Add several ice cubes to bartender's mixing glass. Add dash of bitters followed by vermouth and gin. Stir 20 - 30 times (do NOT shake). Strain into martini glass. Add twist of orange (or try a twist of lemon).</p></blockquote><p>If you think about states known for distilled spirits such as bourbon and whiskey, you might think about Kentucky or Tennessee. But Michigan is becoming home to its own distilleries. That's being driven in part by a growing interest in craft cocktails.</p><p>The first thing you’re likely to notice in these craft cocktail bars is all the fruit and jars of fresh herbs such as mint and rosemary. You’re not going to find premixed bottles of corn-syrup-laden sweet and sour here. It’s all about real aromas and flavors.</p><p>Right now, there are several craft cocktail bars mostly in southeast Michigan (see some favorites at the end of this story). &nbsp;One of them is <a href="http://thelastwordbar.com/">The Last Word</a> where we talked with manager Robben Schulz. He says they’re always looking for new spirits to give their drinks some depth, some interest. Some of them are being made here in Michigan. Mon, 20 May 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 12632 at http://michiganradio.org Craft cocktail movement helping Michigan distilleries