development en In this morning's news: Detroit bankruptcy, Medicaid legislation, and a new sports arena <p><strong>Bankruptcy hearings begin</strong></p><p>Municipal bankruptcy hearings began yesterday in Detroit.&nbsp; Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes says the bankruptcy process will progress in federal court.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that Detroit city workers and retirees were hoping to argue the case against cutting pensions in state court.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>State Senate finished with Medicaid draft</strong></p><p>A state Senate work group has released a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan.&nbsp; The group has worked for weeks since the state Senate adjourned for summer recess.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher <a href="">reports</a> that “officials in Governor Rick Snyder’s administration are already embracing the revised plan.”&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Detroit could get new sports complex</strong></p><p>Michigan economic officials are supporting plans for a new sports arena in Detroit.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta <a href="">reports</a> “The project includes a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings.&nbsp; It would be within walking distance of the city’s football and baseball stadiums.” Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:34:29 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13688 at In this morning's news: Detroit bankruptcy, Medicaid legislation, and a new sports arena In this morning's Michigan news headlines... <p><strong>Thunderstorms cause power outages</strong></p><p>Utilities say more than 200,000 homes and businesses across Michigan are without power following several days of thunderstorms and hot weather, the Associated Press reports. From the AP:</p><blockquote><p>DTE Energy Co. says about 175,000 of its customers were without power Thursday morning after a new round of damaging thunderstorms made its way across the state, knocking down trees and power lines. Since Tuesday, DTE says about 300,000 of its customers have been affected. The National Weather Service says wind gusts above 60 mph were reported as storms crossed the state Thursday. The Flint Journal reports 23,800 Consumers Energy customers without power in Genesee County. WSGW-AM reports 5,500 without power Midland and Gladwin counties.</p></blockquote><p><strong>Appeals court reinstates Blackwell case</strong></p><div align="left"><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">The </span><span style=" font-size:12pt">state Court of Appeals has reinstated an embezzlement case against the former emergency manager for Highland Park. Sarah Hulett reports:</span></font></div><div align="left"><blockquote><p>Arthur Blackwell&nbsp;II is accused of taking $264,000&nbsp;in payments that were not authorized by state officials.<font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt"> The appeals court decision reverses a lower court ruling - which had dismissed the case. The lower court agreed with Blackwell - who said as the city&#39;s emergency manager, he had the authority to sign the checks to himself. The appeals court says there&#39;s enough evidence that Blackwell acted improperly to try him.</span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt"> Blackwell was appointed to fix Highland Park&#39;s finances in 2005, by then-governor Jennifer Granholm. </span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says she&#39;s pleased with the appeals court decision</span></font>.</p></blockquote><p><strong>Debate over sand dune development</strong></p><p><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">Governor Snyder signed legislation recently </span><span style=" font-size:12pt">allowing </span><span style=" font-size:12pt">Great Lakes property owners to use tillers to dig up plants on the shoreline</span><span style=" font-size:12pt">,</span><span style=" font-size:12pt"> as long as they get a federal permit. But another fight is brewing over relaxing environmental rules to make it easier for developers to build on sand dunes. Rick Pluta reports:</span></font></p><blockquote><p><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">Michigan has very stringent rules that prohibit building on environmentally sensitive dunes. Developers say it is possible to build on dunes set back from the shoreline without harming the view, or causing other environmental damage. </span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">The measure to relax those rules stalled just before the Legislature took its summer break, but negotiations continue in an effort to break the impasse. </span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt">James Clift is with the Michigan Environmental Council. He says there may be some room to relax the rules, but he says the state needs to ensure the Great Lakes shoreline is protected. </span></font></p><p><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&ldquo;So if the state of Michigan isn&rsquo;t stepping up, these are dunes that are globally rare resources that are going to be under development pressure.&rdquo;</span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span style=" font-size:12pt"> </span></font></p><p><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Clift says the dunes are a draw for tourists, and also serve as habitat for rare or threatened species. </span></font></p></blockquote><p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 12:06:51 +0000 Rebecca Williams 8152 at In this morning's Michigan news headlines... Why removing freeways can be good for cities <p><em>(You can also see this story with more photos on the </em><a href="">Changing Gears website</a>)</p><p>Half a century after cities across our region and country built sprawling freeways, many of those roads are reaching the end of their useful lives.</p><p>Instead of rebuilding them, a growing number of cities are thinking about, or actively, removing them. That may come as a surprise.</p><p>When Clevelanders hear that the <a href="">city plans to convert a coastal freeway</a> into a slower, tree-lined boulevard, you get reactions like this one from Judie Vegh:</p><blockquote><p>“I think it’s a pretty bad idea for commuters,” she said. “And if it were 35 mph, I would just be later than usual.”</p></blockquote><p>Within the next few years, Vegh’s commute on Cleveland’s West Shoreway will likely look very different.</p><p><a href="">Cleveland City Planner Bob Brown</a> says this is not the traditional highway project, "the traditional highway project is obviously speeding things up, adding more capacity, and often ignoring the character of neighborhoods."</p><p>It’s quite a change.</p><p>In the 1950s and 60s, freeways were seen as progress and modernity. They were part of urban renewal and planners like New York’s Robert Moses tore through neighborhoods to put up hulking steel and concrete roadways.</p><p>Today, cities are looking to take them down.</p><p>The list is long:</p><ul><li>New Orleans</li><li>New Haven</li><li>Buffalo</li><li>Syracuse</li><li>San Francisco</li></ul><p>These are just some US cities thinking about or actively taking freeways down. You can find more information about these projects on the <a href="">Changing Gears website</a>. Thu, 13 Jan 2011 20:18:28 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 876 at Why removing freeways can be good for cities