Warren http://michiganradio.org en City of Warren hoping for a turnaround http://michiganradio.org/post/city-warren-hoping-turnaround <p></p><p>The city of Warren, Michigan has been wresting with population declines for several decades and with that comes the common problems many industrial cities face - how to deal with vacant property.</p><p>Last week, Mayor Jim Fouts announced a plan to relieve the city of caring for some of these empty lots.</p><p>If you live next to one, you can buy it from the city for $1.</p><p>More from the Associated Press:</p><blockquote><p>Fouts says the buyers will be responsible for closing costs that won't exceed $700 per lot. Additional property taxes will be around $150 annually.</p><p>The mayor calls it a "win-win" deal for Warren and the nearby property owners. He says the price is hard to beat, plus the city will no longer have to cut weeds or grass and shovel snow at the sites.</p></blockquote><p>And now the city is hoping to convert some of its empty parcels into a bustling downtown around its city center.</p><p><a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140505/NEWS04/305050014/Warren-downtown-development">Christina Hall writes for the Detroit Free Press</a>:</p><blockquote><p>In the next few months, Mayor Jim Fouts would like to reveal specific plans for some of those parcels in the city’s downtown — details he hopes will describe a five-star hotel, fashionable movie theater, high-class restaurant, nightclub and grocery store...</p><p>After roughly a decade of failed attempts, Fouts believes plans finally are falling into place to develop a bustling downtown in Michigan’s third-largest city.</p></blockquote><p>The mayor says the city's <span style="line-height: 1.5;">Downtown Development Authority has "received many 'strong feelers from businesses wanting to develop' more than 16 acres around the civic center."</span></p><p>Going from "strong feelers" to actual construction can be a long process.</p><p> Mon, 05 May 2014 15:29:16 +0000 Mark Brush 17475 at http://michiganradio.org City of Warren hoping for a turnaround Warren's District Court evacuated after white powder found in letter http://michiganradio.org/post/warrens-district-court-evacuated-after-white-powder-found-letter <p style="margin-top:0in;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:.2in;margin-left:0in; line-height:17.5pt"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">Updated at 2:54 pm</span></strong></p><p style="margin-top:0in;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:.2in;margin-left:0in; line-height:17.5pt"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">The 40 evacuated court employees have left the police station, where they congregated after the powder was discovered.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0.2in; line-height: 17.5pt; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">Court proceedings are canceled for the afternoon.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0.2in; line-height: 17.5pt; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">The HAZMAT team says the court is safe and secure, though it'll take another 4 to 6 weeks of testing to figure out exactly what kind of powder the envelope contained.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0.2in; line-height: 17.5pt; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">Meanwhile, four of the employees exposed to the mystery powder are being quarantined and examined in the hospital. They're not exhibiting any symptoms or illness, says Warren Police Commissioner<span class="apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span>Jere&nbsp;Green.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0.2in; line-height: 17.5pt; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Georgia, serif; ">He says either the city police or the FBI will take the investigation from here.</span></p><p><strong>1:13 p.m.</strong></p><p>The city of Warren evacuated the 37th District Court this morning because of a suspicious letter containing white powder.</p><p>According to <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20130429/NEWS04/304290086/warren-district-court-powdery-substance-evacuated">Christina Hall from the Detroit Free Press</a>, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said no one was hurt or sickened.</p><blockquote><p>About 40 employees were at the neighboring police station awaiting the all-clear from the fire department to return to the court, 8300 Common Road.</p><p>Fouts said a letter was mailed from Chrysler to a third party and was delivered to the court by mistake. The clerk re-mailed the letter to the third party. On Friday, the letter came back to the court as undeliverable, Fouts said.</p><p>He said the clerk opened the letter this morning and the powder came out. Police, fire and Hazmat were called.</p><p>“The intended target was not the district court,” Fouts said, adding that he did not know to whom the letter was addressed or the type of letter it is.</p><p>Fouts said the substance did not appear to be a potentially dangerous one and that he anticipates the court will reopen today.</p></blockquote><p><em>- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom</em> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 19:17:49 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12320 at http://michiganradio.org Warren's District Court evacuated after white powder found in letter City of Warren wins appeal over Christmas display http://michiganradio.org/post/city-warren-wins-appeal-over-christmas-display <p>WARREN, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled against a group that wanted to add an anti-religion message to a Christmas display at Warren city hall.</p><p>The court says the Warren mayor did nothing illegal when he refused to post a sign that said, "There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell."</p><p>The Freedom from Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis., sued Warren in 2011. The Detroit suburb displays secular and religious symbols between Thanksgiving and Christmas, including a nativity scene, Santa Claus house and sleigh.</p><p>The appeals court said Monday that Warren's display is not an illegal endorsement of religion. The court says the city is not required to "add all comers to the mix." Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:05:26 +0000 associated press 11401 at http://michiganradio.org City of Warren wins appeal over Christmas display Explosion at GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/explosion-gm-tech-center-warren-michigan <p><strong>Update 2:35 p.m.</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120411/AUTO0103/204110389/">The Detroit News</a> reports that Warren Mayor James Fouts toured GM&#39;s Tech Center after the exposion. He said he had a &quot;chemical taste in his mouth&quot; when touring the site.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I just want to say how very fortunate we are that only one person was seriously injured,&quot; said Fouts, who toured the site after the fire was extinguished. &quot;There were 80 people in that building, but only one person received a possible concussion and some chemical burns, from what I&#39;ve been told.&quot;</p><p>...According to Fouts, the building housing the research lab received considerable damage.</p></blockquote><p>Fouts said three &quot;very large windows were blown out and thick, fortified doors were forced open by the blast.&quot;</p><p>The News reports that a GM official said the hospitalized worker &quot;is expected to make a full recovery and that the injuries are not life threatening.&quot;</p><div style="overflow: hidden; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none;"><strong>1:27 p.m.</strong></div><p>GM says the explosion was unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle.</p><p>&quot;The incident was related to extreme testing on a prototype battery,&quot; officials said in a statement.</p><p><strong>11:32 a.m.</strong></p><p>There was an explosion at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan this morning.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20120411/BUSINESS0101/120411015/explosion-GM-Tech-Center?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">Detroit Free Press</a> reports on one person who was seriously injured in the blast:</p><blockquote><p>A woman working in a battery research laboratory was taken to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt (Skip) McAdams said.</p><p>&ldquo;She is conscious; she&rsquo;s in a lot of pain. She&rsquo;s a &lsquo;Priority 2,&rsquo; which means she has life-threatening injuries,&rdquo; McAdams said.</p></blockquote><p>More from the <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120411/AUTO0103/204110389/Battery-explosion-GM-s-Tech-Center-sends-one-hospital?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">Detroit News</a>:</p><blockquote><p>One person was transported to a hospital and four others were being evaluated Wednesday after a lithium battery exploded at a battery research lab at the General Motors Technical Center.</p><p>&quot;We are aware of an incident this morning about 8:45 a.m. in one of the laboratories at the Alternative Energy Center at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich.,&quot; GM said in a release. &quot;Fire and emergency authorities were called to the scene. The building was evacuated. All employees have been accounted for. We are aware of five employees being evaluated on scene by medical personal and only one employee is being further treated.</p><p>The incident is still under investigation by GM and the Warren authorities. Any information or discussion of the nature of the work in the lab or cause of the incident is entirely speculative and cannot be confirmed at this time.&quot; Wed, 11 Apr 2012 18:35:02 +0000 Mark Brush 7001 at http://michiganradio.org Explosion at GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan Michigan Mayor says "no" to anti-religion sign, "yes" to nativity scene http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-mayor-says-no-anti-religion-sign-yes-nativity-scene <p>A national nonprofit group for atheists and agnostics wants to display a sandwich board with an anti-religion message inside Warren City Hall.&nbsp; A nativity scene erected by the Warren Rotary Club is on display in Warren City Hall, something the &quot;Freedom From Religion Coalition&quot; takes issue with.</p><p>On one side, the group&#39;s sign reads:</p><ul><li>&quot;At this season of the Winter Solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.&quot;</li></ul><p><br>On the other, it reads:</p><ul><li>&quot;Keep State &amp; Church Separate.&quot;</li></ul><p><br>The Macomb Daily News reports the group has tried to put the sign up in past years:</p><p>From the <a href="http://www.macombdaily.com/articles/2011/12/21/news/doc4ef13f58437e7463387714.txt">Macomb Daily</a>:</p><blockquote><p>For the second consecutive year, the Freedom From Religion Coalition has taken exception to the crèche located in the atrium of the municipal building, saying other viewpoints on religion should be permitted. According to a Fox 2 Detroit (WJBK-TV) report, the group has threatened legal action against the city...</p></blockquote><p>According to the Freedom From Religion Coalition&#39;s website, their &quot;<a href="http://ffrf.org/uploads/legal/MarshallDocuments.pdf">demand letter</a> to Mayor James R. Fouts, of Warren, Michigan, gave him until 10 a.m. today to agree to place their &ldquo;equal time Winter Solstice sign&quot; in the atrium of Warren City Hall.</p><p>Mayor James Fouts <a href="http://www.cityofwarren.org/images/stories/mayor/press-releases/December%2021%202011%20-%20Letter%20of%20response%20to%20Stephanie%20Schmitt%20-%20Freedom%20from%20Religion.pdf">sent a letter</a> to the group saying he would not allow their sign to be displayed because the sign is &quot;antagonistic toward all religions and would serve no purpose during this holiday season except to provoke controversy and hostility among visitors and employees at city hall.&quot;</p><p>Fouts says he&#39;s allowed displays in city hall celebrating Ramadan, a month-long Muslim holiday, but could not support the Coalition&#39;s sign because &quot;your non-religion is not a recognized religion.&quot;</p><p>From Fouts&#39; letter:</p><blockquote><p>If you requested permission to put up a sandwich board saying that there is no Santa Claus, you would be met with the same response. Santa Claus lives in the minds and hearts of many millions of children. The belief of God and religion lives in the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people and is as much a part of the fabric of America, as the belief in democracy and freedom.</p></blockquote><p>Attorney Danielle Hessell of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan is representing the Freedom From Religion Coalition in the dispute. Hessell says the group is planning to sue.</p><p>From a FFRC <a href="http://ffrf.org/news/releases/ffrf-to-mayor-stop-censoring-sign-or-be-sued/">press release</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;To date, the mayor has engaged in flagrant viewpoint censorship. As the city&rsquo;s top government official, he has created a public forum for religion and only for religion. We hope reason will prevail, but if he does not permit our member to place the Winter Solstice display in the atrium tomorrow, we are planning to sue Mr. Fouts in federal court.&rdquo; Wed, 21 Dec 2011 23:08:25 +0000 Mark Brush 5512 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan Mayor says "no" to anti-religion sign, "yes" to nativity scene General Motors to invest $325 million at Warren transmission plant http://michiganradio.org/post/general-motors-invest-325-million-warren-transmission-plant <p>General Motors officials said they will &quot;create or retain&quot; 418 jobs with a $325 million investment at a suburban Detroit transmission plant. The company says it will invest &quot;in tools and equipment to support production of future electric vehicle components.&quot;</p><p>So which is it? Are they creating or retaining the jobs?</p><p>According this report in <a href="http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20111021/FREE/111029981/gm-to-spend-325-million-on-improvements-to-warren-transmission-plant#">Crain&#39;s Detroit Business</a>, 360 jobs will be created at the plant in Warren, Michigan as a result of the new UAW contract:</p><blockquote><p>The company would not say how many of the 418 jobs will be new positions. But a summary of GM&rsquo;s new four-year contract with the UAW said 360 jobs will be added at the plant for a new transmission that originally was to have been built in Mexico. The union said that the jobs were brought to the U.S. as part of the new contract.</p></blockquote><p>At this point, GM is not revealing the timing for the project.</p><p>According to GM, 679 current employees at&nbsp; the plant in Warren make transmissions for the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and the Chevrolet Malibu sedan.</p><p>From a GM <a href="http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Oct/1021_warren">press release</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;This investment in the future recognizes the excellent work force and operation of this plant,&rdquo; said GM Manufacturing Manager Gerald Johnson. &ldquo;While we aren&rsquo;t sharing many details about this product, I can tell you that this investment demonstrates how GM, working with our UAW partners, continues to innovate and bring new electrification solutions to our customers.&rdquo;</p><p>The 2.1 million square-foot plant, equivalent to the area of 15 city blocks, produced more than 338,000 transmissions in 2010.</p><p>&ldquo;We are very proud of the membership of UAW Local 909 whose hard work and dedication to building quality products is why this new electric drive unit module is being built in the United States,&rdquo; said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president representing the GM Department.&nbsp; &ldquo;These good paying, middle class jobs are very important for the State of Michigan and the Metro Detroit area.&nbsp; It is the UAW&rsquo;s goal to increase employment at GM and show the world that we can compete with anyone.&rdquo; Fri, 21 Oct 2011 18:00:29 +0000 Mark Brush 4664 at http://michiganradio.org General Motors to invest $325 million at Warren transmission plant Incumbent mayor clear winner in Warren primary http://michiganradio.org/post/incumbent-mayor-clear-winner-warren-primary <p>Warren Mayor James Fouts <a href="http://www.detnews.com/article/20110802/METRO02/108020422/Groups-cheer-as-Troy-residents-vote-to-save-public-library">cruised to any easy primary victory</a> Tuesday night.</p><p>The five-person primary in Michigan&rsquo;s third-largest city got downright nasty at times. Candidates lobbed personal attacks, and there was a strange battle over whether Fouts had to reveal his age.</p><p>In the end though, Fouts was the clear winner, garnering more than 70% of the vote.</p><p>Fouts says he&rsquo;s fought blight, demolishing about 600 dangerous homes. He also reorganized the city&rsquo;s police department, and brought back EMS services.</p><p>He says the vote shows Warren is happy with his efforts.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I think hard work, and effort, and recognizing the taxpayers are your boss, has allowed this success to take place.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Fouts and City Councilwoman Kathy Vogt, a longtime political opponent, will face off in the November general election.</p><p>Despite finishing a distant second, Vogt says she&rsquo;ll continue to hammer on what she calls Fouts&rsquo; lack of fiscal discipline.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;There are places where costs can be cut. And that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;ve got to do. There&rsquo;s got to be drastic cuts at this point. And the people at the top cannot continue to take top dollar all the time.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Fouts calls Vogt&rsquo;s assertions of fiscal irresponsibility &ldquo;preposterous.&rdquo; He says Warren has more money in its general fund than any other city in the state. Wed, 03 Aug 2011 04:59:12 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 3586 at http://michiganradio.org